After the fireworks boxing provided last weekend, Amir Khan and Carlos Molina have a lot to live up to when they lock horns in a grudge match at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Saturday night.
Khan has fallen on hard times recently. The 26-year-old star has lost his last two fights, against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia. There was some judging controversy in the Peterson fight, not to mention the fact that Peterson failed a drug test prior to their rematch. He is in desperate need of an official win in the ring right now.
Molina is looking to elevate his star, while simultaneously send one of the best boxers of this generation further down the rabbit hole with no hope of rescue. He has been slowly building to this fight all his career, which has included two sterling unanimous decision wins already in 2012.
Who Needs a Victory More?
Where: Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles
When: Saturday, December 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Showtime Anytime (Subscription to Showtime required)
Tale of the Tape
|26-3-0 (18 KO)||Record||17-0-1 (7 KO)|
Stats courtesy of BoxRec.com
Khan's Keys to Victory
Use Long Limbs to Attack Smaller Molina; Go for the Finish Early
One of the biggest advantages that Khan has heading into this fight is size and reach. He has more than four inches in height on Molina, and his lanky body allows him to stand back to attack a smaller opponent.
Khan can really create a lot of leverage behind his punches, particularly against a fighter like Molina. He needs to use that leverage, as well as his power, to get after Molina early and often. He is at his best when he is going for the knockout early; even if it doesn't happen, he wears down his opponents early that they are done before a fight gets to the later rounds.
Another factor that will put Khan over the top is his defense. He tends to get so infatuated with his own ability to strike that he gets sloppy and leaves himself open to attacks from his opponents, which is what happened to Khan against Danny Garcia.
Molina's Keys to Victory
Don't Turn the Fight into a Slug-Fest; Fight Backwards Against Khan
Khan is obviously going to have a power advantage in this fight. Molina's size and style does not lend itself to winning a lot of fights via knockout. He wants to wear down an opponent, take the fight into the later rounds and put his opponent away.
Molina is smart enough to know that he shouldn't get into a slug-fest with Khan. His best path to victory will be to start fighting backwards early before turning the tables on Khan in the later rounds.
By fighting backwards, I mean that Molina needs to play defense early, picking and choosing when he strikes and making the most of his attacks. As the fight moves along and Khan gets frustrated at not being able to put him down, Molina can use more combinations and power strikes.
What They Are Saying
Molina is certainly not lacking for confidence heading into this fight, which is what you would expect from a young star on the rise.
In an interview with The Boxing Lab this week, Molina made a point to say that Khan was foolish for making his comeback, which is ridiculous because he just fought five months ago, against someone like him.
I haven't shown the best of myself in any fights. I've never had this type of training before. I've always been a very confident fighter, but knowing all the work we put in -- I was training alongside Abner Mares, and he was pushing me also. I'm just so motivated. This fight is going to showcase the type of fighter I am, is going to showcase my skills. I feel I have a little more pop at this weight. He's going to feel my punches.
Good for Molina. He is the unknown commodity coming into this fight. No one has any expectations for him—if he loses, well, he was supposed to—so why not put yourself out there. If you win, you will look like an even bigger star.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Khan is the star trying to revitalize his career. He has as much confidence as ever, but he is publicly saying (via UK Daily Mail) all the right things. He seems much more humble than he ever has.
I’ve grown up and nothing will take my focus off my boxing.
I will be smart and pick my moments to go for the finish. Just as I am insisting on random blood testing for drugs before all my fights, so that I don’t suffer again the way I did in the previous defeat by Lamont Peterson,who we found was on steroids.
Khan needed to take a step back and examine himself and what he wanted out of boxing. Now that he has found some semblance of inner peace, he can take care of business to prove he is far from "over the hill."
Khan made a calculated decision by picking Molina as his opponent. He wanted to fight someone who will challenge him in new ways, but is also not at his level when he is at the top of his game. Given how motivated he is for the fight, it's hard to bet against Khan.
Khan wins via unanimous decision