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Showtime & CBS Main Event Previews: Amir Khan vs Carlos Molina, Santa Cruz / Guevara

By: William Holmes

Golden Boy Promotions is the first boxing promotional company to televise boxing on network television in a very long time. On Saturday, at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena, Golden Boy will be televising the entire card on CBS, Showtime Extreme, and Showtime. First Live Boxing Broadcast Since 1997 Begins at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT; Amir Khan Faces Carlos Molina In Main Event on Showtime (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) From L.A. Sports Arena; Preliminary Bouts on SHOWTIME Extreme (9:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Saturday will mark Amir Khan’s first return to the boxing ring since his stunning defeat to Danny Garcia, and Leo Santa Cruz gets to be the first boxer to make his appearance as the main event on network television in years. Diaz will make his pro debut in the opening bout of a live 90-minute CBS broadcast that will begin at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.

The following is a preview of the main events on Showtime and CBS.

Leo Santa Cruz (22-0) vs. Alberto Guevara (16-0); IBF Bantamweight Title

The main event of the CBS card features two undefeated Mexican bantamweight boxers competing for the IBF Bantamweight Title.

Leo Santa Cruz is the heavy favorite on Saturday and for good reason. He’s a tall bantamweight, he stands at 5’7” with a 69” reach. He’s an orthodox fighter with decent power, 13 of his 22 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He’s only 24 years old and is just entering his athletic prime.

As most boxers who are technically gifted, Santa Cruz has an impressive amateur background. Santa Cruz has an amateur record of 148-7 and won the gold medal at the World Amateur Championships when he was only 15 years old.

Santa Cruz has only recently began taking on tough competition. He looked good against Victor Zaleta with a 9th round TKO last month. He made former champion Eric Morel quit on his stool in September of this year. This will be Santa Cruz’s fifth fight in 2012 and he has been staying very active for a young promising fighter.

His opponent Alberto Guevara is also undefeated, but he does not possess the credentials of Santa Cruz. Guevara only has 6 KO’s out of his 16 victories, and his victories were against less than stellar competition. He has spent his entire career in Mexico and has never fought anybody of note.

The toughest opponent he’s had to face was Khabir Suleymanov, who had a record of 13-1 and has lost three of his past five fights.

Quite simply Guevara is taking a big step up in competition, and it’s a step he isn’t ready for. It will be shocking if Santa Cruz does not win.

Amir Khan (26-3) vs. Carlos Molina (17-0); Junior Welterweight

Photo: Gene Blevans/ Golden Boy/ Hogan Photos

This is a very intriguing bout and a risky fight for both fighters. Amir Khan was once a heavily hyped prospect with dreams of becoming one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world.

Now he’s a fighter looking to keep his name relevant after two tough losses and one brutal TKO defeat.

Both Khan and Molina have deep and impressive amateur backgrounds. Khan won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, and Molina had an amateur record of 105-20.

Amir Khan is young and in his prime, and has excellent speed. His chin however is highly suspect. In all three of his losses he took savage beatings. He was brutally knocked out by Breidis Prescott in 2008. He was beaten from ring post to ring post by Lamont Peterson. Many feel that Khan won that fight with Peterson, but he took too much punishment on the ropes to justify the claims of “robbery”.

His last loss against Danny Garcia was perhaps his most damaging defeat. He was looking to come back strong against an opponent many felt that Khan overmatched. He took a hard left hook and was knocked down three times in that fight before it was stopped.

But just as Khan has looked like Glass Joe in the ring at times, he’s also looked like a boxer who had so much promise. He easily defeated Marco Antonio Barrera, Andreas Kotelnik, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, and Zab Judah.

And, to his credit, Khan decided against taking on an easy opponent after his last defeat and will be fighting the very tough Carlos Molina.

Molina is undefeated and still relatively young, but he is not known for his power. He only has 7 stoppages out of his 17 victories.

Molina also usually fights as a lightweight but jumped at the opportunity to fight Khan in the junior welterweight division. He’ll be significantly smaller than Khan, Khan is almost four inches taller than him.

Molina has a lot of name recognition, but he has yet to face the quality of opponents that Khan has. His last seven fights have gone to a decision, not a good sign for a someone who is fighting an opponent who has a suspect chin with solid boxing skills.

Molina does hold some decent victories, he defeated Manuel Leyva and Marcos Leonardo Jimenez for the WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title. But Amir Khan represents a big step up in competition for him.

Molina has one glaring red flag on his record. He fought to a split decision victory against Juan Montiel in August of 2011. Juan Montiel currently has an unimpressive record of 5-6.

If Molina has any power whatsoever I’d say he has a chance of defeating Amir Khan on Saturday night.

But his lack of power and size will hurt him in the ring, and Amir Khan should pull off the victory and be back on track towards a world title shot.

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