LOS ANGELES: Amir Khan stopped Carlos Molina after 10 rounds on Saturday, beginning the British ex-champion’s comeback from consecutive losses with a lopsided victory.
Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) used superior speed and power to batter the overmatched American in every round. Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs) began bleeding from cuts in the middle rounds, and referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout on the advice of Molina’s corner before the 11th.
Khan celebrated with new trainer Virgil Hunter, who replaced Freddie Roach in Khan’s corner after losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, who stopped the former light welterweight titleholder in July.
“I stuck to my game plan, which meant sticking to my jab,” Khan said. “Carlos took some really good shots, and he was still coming forward, and that’s when I thought to myself, ‘I’d better stick to this game plan.’“
Khan won every round on every judge’s scorecard while landing 312 of his 679 punches, including 56 percent of his power shots. Molina connected with only 87 total punches in 10 rounds.
Khan clearly was quicker and more physically imposing than his opponent from the opening bell, reddening Molina’s face and pushing him back with shots too swift to dodge. Molina landed a few clean punches in the opening rounds, but they weren’t fierce enough to test Khan’s much-questioned chin.
Khan cut Molina near his right eye while unleashing multiple combinations in the fourth round. Molina wasn’t mobile enough to fight at Khan’s pace and level, and Khan steadily wore down his opponent until the finish.
Hunter, the mastermind of Andre Ward’s career, has worked to instill a more thoughtful approach in Khan, saying the former British Olympic star had never been taught how to box. While Khan said he would still be an exciting fighter, he aimed to avoid brawls in favor of a complete game plan.
That plan was in evidence in every round against Molina, with Khan resisting the urge to brawl whenever Molina presented the opportunity.
“Virgil is a great trainer, and I’m getting better at boxing and at being a complete fighter,” Khan said. “He’s teaching me boxing, speed, patience, and picking the right shot and when to throw it. Sometimes I’m too brave for my own good, but now I know it’s better to stick to the game plan.”
Molina was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, and the little-known fighter was the hometown crowd’s favorite — but a vocal section of British and Pakistani fans was much happier to see the new-look Khan’s workmanlike, smart performance after his recent setbacks.
Garcia floored Khan three times on the way to a fourth-round stoppage five months ago, claiming Khan’s WBC and WBA light welter belts.
On the undercard, Mexican Leo Santa Cruz defended his IBF bantamweight title with a unanimous decision over compatriot Alberto Guevara.