LOS ANGLES-Amir “King” Khan dominated with his speed and stopped Southern California’s Carlos Molina to hand him his first defeat. Khan also proved he’s ready for a rematch with his conqueror Danny Garcia for the junior welterweight world title.
Khan (27-3, 19 Kos) defeated Norwalk’s Molina (17-1-1, 7 Kos) by using his blistering speed and movement before more than 6,000 fans at the L.A. Sports Arena. The difference in size and speed proved too much but there were moments for Molina.
“I knew I got him with a couple of shots and he still came forward,” said Khan. “He came to win.”
Khan erupted with his hand speed and caught Molina with precise combinations that reddened the left eye of the Southern Californian. Molina fought off several attacks and managed to land a left hook flush in the first round.
Molina gave Khan a taste of his power and stunned the fleet British fighter in the second round with a counter right hand and a left hook. But Khan used his impressive speedy combinations to out punch Molina over three minutes.
“The plan was to jab and fight patiently,” Khan said. "I decided to stick to the plan.”
Khan seemed to take the fifth round off and allowed Molina to unload a couple of solid combinations. The left hook did most of the scoring in round five for Molina who also used the jab to get closer to the speedy Khan. Molina’s face was getting redder each round from absorbing the Khan combinations.
After the first seven rounds Khan slipped into cruise control and fought when he wanted to fight by erupting into blistering combinations that strafed Molina’s face. The local fighter continued to look for that perfect opening that seldom came. A few left hook counters worked but nothing to shock Khan’s equilibrium. At the end of the 10th, Molina’s father stepped on the apron and signaled to referee Jack Reiss to end the fight. Khan was declared the winner by technical knockout.
“I don’t know what happened. I tried to pull the trigger and I couldn’t,” said Molina. “I didn’t do my job.”
All three judges had Khan winning all 10 rounds.
In a battle between Mexican border town fighters Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-2, 18 Kos) of Mexicali out-slugged Tijuana’s Jorge Silva (18-3-2, 14 Kos) after 10 rounds of a brutal junior middleweight contest.
Silva started quickly in the first round by landing several overhand right bombs that seemed to catch Angulo by surprise. But after that, Angulo began to find the remedy for the muscular Tijuana fighter by shortening his punches and going to the body. It worked. After 10 rounds of back and forth exchanges, all three judges scored it for Angulo 97-93. No knockdowns were scored.
“I felt a little sluggish. That’s why I was a little slower,” said Angulo. “I threw a lot of punches and he took a lot of shots.”
The popular Angulo, who formerly lived in Indio, seemed sharper as the fight proceeded. Now promoted by Golden Boy, the Mexicali native hopes to get an opportunity to fight WBC junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by next year.
Veteran Julio Diaz (40-7-1, 29 Kos) continued his assault against the younger welterweight prospects and contenders and this time had to settle for a draw against undefeated Shawn Porter (20-0-1, 14 Kos) after 10 back and forth rounds.
Diaz, a former two-time lightweight world champion, has found the heavier 147-pound division to his liking and nearly toppled Porter, a fighter known for his strength and speed. After Porter took the first three rounds by volume punching, Diaz began to time the assaults and unloading some accurate counter shots. From then on Diaz began accumulating rounds from the inside. After 10 back and forth rounds the fight was ruled a split draw 96-94 for Porter, 96-94 for Diaz and 95-95 for the draw.
Former Olympic heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder (26-0, 26 Kos) knocked out Florida’s Kevin Price (13-1, 6 Kos) to win the battle of undefeated heavyweights. A one-two combination by Wilder caught Price flush in the jaw and sent him down in sections. Referee Ray Corona stopped the fight at 51 seconds of round three.
Middleweight prospect Chris Pearson (7-0, 6 Kos) of Ohio proved too sharp for Las Vegas boxer Yusmani Abreu (3-6-1). After five rounds Abreu’s corner stopped the fight at the end of the fifth round to give Pearson the technical knockout win.
Daytime fight card.
Southern California’s IBF bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz pounded his way to victory and amateur champion Joe Diaz won his pro debut on Saturday afternoon.
It was only a month ago that Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 Kos) last fought, but with an opportunity to fight on a CBS televised fight card, the Golden Boy Promotions fighter accepted the challenge against the undefeated Alberto Guevara (16-1, 6 Kos) and handed him his first defeat.
Mexico’s Guevara was confident of victory before the fight but after the fifth round a long right cross by Santa Cruz caught the challenger flush. From that point on the complexion of the fight changed and slowly the energy sapped from Guevara.
“He hurt me in the fifth round,” said Guevara, who had never fought in the U.S. “But I hurt him in round 12.”
Santa Cruz re-injured his nose that was broken in his prior fight last month at the Staples Center, but was able to maintain pressure on the elusive Guevara. During the last six rounds the constant pressure and attack to Guevara’s body seemed to wilt the Mexican fighter. Santa Cruz felt he could have done more but wasn’t 100 percent healthy.
“I couldn’t breathe so I couldn’t perform my best,” said Santa Cruz who also hurt his right hand during the fight. ‘I switched southpaw because I hurt my right hand.”
The Los Angeles-based fighter, who is the youngest of the fighting Santa Cruz brothers, continued to attack relentlessly and never allowed Guevara to set up his punches. It was a clean sweep of the last six rounds for Santa Cruz according to two of the three ringside judges. But all were unanimous in giving the fight to the defending champion 116-112, 118-110, 119-109.
London Olympian Joseph Diaz (1-0) was the clear victor in his match against Minnesota’s Vicente Alfaro (5-3) after four rounds of a featherweight bout. Diaz, a southpaw who fights out of South El Monte, was the stronger fighter and never allowed his opponent to get going. A Diaz right hooked floored Alfaro in round four but he beat the count. All three judges scored it 40-35 for Diaz in his pro debut.
Olympian Errol Spence Jr. (2-0, 2 Kos) pounded out Richard Andrews (5-3-3) of Virginia at 34 seconds of round two in a junior middleweight fight set for four rounds. The southpaw Spence had all of the advantages including height and speed and forced referee Tom Taylor to end the one-sided fight.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV