Birmingham, Arena Birmingham - In his second fight of 2018, former world champion Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) had near disaster when he was dropped in the second round, but fought his way to a twelve round unanimous decision over Samuel Vargas (29-4-2, 14 KOs). The scores were 119-108, 119-109 and 118-110.
Khan snapped a two year layoff back in April, when he blew away Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds of the first round in Liverpool. It was his first bout since moving up to a catch-weight of 155-pounds and getting knocked out by then WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez in May of 2016.
Vargas was coming off a majority draw and prior to that had won four in a row since getting knocked out in seven by two-division world champion Danny Garcia.
Khan's speed was on display in the opening moments of the first round. He stunned Vargas with a solid right hand and was using his quick feet to get away from any incoming danger and was punching in combinations. Vargas managed to land a good counter, but Khan came back with numerous shots in return.
At the start of the second, Khan went after Vargas with a series of shots to score a knockdown. Vargas got up and Khan went after him with combinations for the finish. Vargas held on for dear life and was trying to counter back, but Khan's hand speed was becoming too much for him. Vargas' nose started bleeding from the jab of Khan. But then at the end of the second, Vargas landed a solid overhand right that dropped Khan on his back. Khan appeared hurt, but the knockdown luckily came right at the bell.
During the third they were trading punches and Khan scored another knockdown when Vargas got caught off-balance and wasn't really hurt. Khan then began to control things with his boxing ability.
Khan was being more cautious in the fourth, by sticking and moving. They started trading where both landed. Khan had the obvious advantage and he was controlling the pace.
In the fifth, Khan was landing a whole arsenal of punches that had Vargas in all sorts of trouble. Khan was letting the kitchen go as he was attempting to finish Vargas off. Vargas was able to survive, but his face was very busted up.
During the sixth, Vargas was able to pin Khan against the ropes and landed a good series of shots to the body. Khan was still landing heavy shots to the head. The seventh round was controlled by Khan, who was boxing and being careful. And the eight and ninth was more of the same, with Khan outboxing Vargas.
Vargas was letting his hands ago at the start of the tenth and briefly pinned Khan against the ropes. Khan took control of the round, but he was once again wobbled at the very end when Vargas landed a solid right. The eleventh round was competitive, with Vargas mostly on the chase as Khan was on his feet and not looking to exchange. Vargas continued to target the body.
In the twelfth and final round, Khan came out throwing a lot of combinations. Vargas was still chasing Khan around the ring. Khan was sticking and moving until the final bell.