By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN is back in the world title mix after a convincing win here that left him vowing: “I will become a world champion again soon.”
After two career-threatening defeats, Khan managed to KO his doubters with an emphatic win over Carlos Molina.
A new, mature-looking Khan won every single round of a fight that finished at the end of the 10th when Molina’s corner spoke to referee Jack Reiss and called it a day.
It was all so convincing that a new-look and very confident Khan told me: “I am sure I will become a world champion again soon – the best is yet to come.”
A badly-cut left eye hampered the locally-based Molina but even without that there was absolutely no doubt that Khan was by far the better of the two fighters.
Now, after defeats by Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia this year, 26-year-old Khan has made a strong statement about his ability to get right back to the top.
The former unified world light-welterweight champion, under new trainer Virgil Hunter, turned on the style to outclass Molina completely.
Khan was delighted to get this bout out of the way and said: “I know I made a lot of mistakes in my last two fights.
“But I am a changed fighter now and stick to the game plan Virgil has made for me.
“There were times when I did get caught with a shot but I never lost my rage and stuck to the plan.
“I had to be safe. Every time I went to the corner Virgil was telling me to stick to what I was doing and that was fine by me.
“I now already see myself as a better fighter and I am only going to get better because I have only been with Virgil for 10 weeks.
“I’m sure that I will be a world champion again soon.”
The influence of new trainer Hunter cannot be underestimated – even by me! I had doubts about Khan’s decision to sack Freddie Roach after his defeat by Garcia.
But I have to admit that the cool and confident Hunter seems to have instilled a new kind of winning discipline in Khan.
Gone is the ‘old’ Amir who always had a tendency to throw caution to the wind and get involved in sometimes costly toe-to-toe battles.
Instead, Khan is learning well and worked his way through the opening rounds in a safe and confident manner.
Perhaps he could have finished off Molina before his corner called it a day but Khan was following his orders to the letter and it worked out just right. He won each of the 10 rounds and was ready to go another two without risking victory by reverting to his old self.
He added: “Virgil is a great trainer and I’m getting better at boxing, being a complete fighter.
“He’s teaching me things like speed, patience, picking the right shots and when to throw them.
“Sometimes I’m too brave for my own good but now I know it is better to stick to a game plan.”
Khan’s only problem after the fight was a badly-bruised right hand but he is still on course for what he hopes will be a cracking 2013.
He said: “All went well in this fight. Now I am ready to show just how good I am next year.