Boxing: All goes according to plan in latest Amir Khan adventure

Flawless matchmaking helps relationship with new trainer Hunter get off to a promising start

It was a wonderful piece of cynical matchmaking and Amir Khan finally fought to plan to win every second of his fight against Carlos Molina at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Khan had lost his last two fights going into Saturday's fixture and there was always an understanding that one more defeat would be the end of his ambitions and dreams inside the boxing ring. Molina was plucked from the fringes of respectable boxing company and conceded height, weight and experience but remained defiant until his corner waved it off after 10 rounds.

It was the sweetest start to the developing and passionate affair between Khan and his latest trainer, Virgil Hunter, and the signs are extremely positive after a near-flawless display that keeps the roving Bolton fighter firmly in the world championship mix and away from low-key crisis fights.

"I had a plan and I knew that I had to stick to it," said Khan, whose relief at the end was understandably excessive even if the WBC silver belt that he won means nothing. "The plan was to think at all times and not lose my head; I carried out the game plan without any problem."

Molina, unbeaten in 18 before the first bell, never stopped trying but was getting methodically picked to pieces as the rounds ticked by; and, more importantly, Khan was starting to relax and hurt him. There was a case for it ending a bit sooner but thankfully there was a belated outbreak of mercy in his corner when he walked back at the end of the 10th.

"Molina took some big shots and he caught me a few times and that was a test for me," admitted Khan. "I knew that I had to keep cool and not lose my head – that has been my problem and that is what we have worked on in the gym."

In Saturday's fight at the weary and venerable auditorium Khan was noticeably thinking his way from rope to rope and calculating the risks in the mix of punches that he threw. Khan has, it must be said, boxed to the numbers before, when he won his first world title against Andriy Kotelnik in 2009. On that night in Manchester there was a high level of concentration, motivated by the very real fear of another calamitous loss like the 60-second blowout he suffered in 2008 against Breidis Prescott. In the boxing business, fear and money are just about the best two tools available to lift a fighter's performance; on Saturday Khan fought like a man aware of his precarious slot in the fickle pecking order.

"I have only been with Virgil for 10 weeks and I can see that it is working," continued Khan. "I'm a quick learner and he is a great trainer. I will continue to improve after that fight but the signs are good – I did what I had to do, never lost my head and now I'm in the position I want to be in."

Khan also has the immensely powerful backing of Golden Boy Promotions touting him as a "new" fighter; They will bring all their influence to the negotiating table to get Khan a world title fight in 2013 and that is the way the business has always worked.

"Right now, I believe that with Virgil in his corner Amir is unbeatable," insisted Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who is always good for a quote but often exaggerates his clients' ability. He is a happier version of Arsène Wenger when it comes to reality and faults in his own men.

Now Khan wants a rematch with Danny Garcia, an improved fighter who separated Khan from both his senses and his world title belt when they met in July. Garcia caught a panicked Khan with a looping left hook to the neck and Khan's legs did a boogie of chaos before a few more nasty punches forced the fight's end. It was a shock and Khan admitted that he had rushed the plan by chasing Garcia.

"Garcia got lucky and I was unlucky," added Khan. "He would never catch me with that punch again – I helped him win that fight but I'm a different fighter under Virgil. I'm a better fighter and I will only get better."

The Garcia rematch is a natural for 2013 and if Schaefer wants it to happen, it will happen. Garcia has a defence in New York in February against former Khan victim Zab Judah, but May would work – and that would be a test for the Hunter and Khan relationship.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage