If there is one thing that can definitively be said about Amir Khan its that he makes exciting fights. Saturday’s 142-lb fight against Julio Diaz was no different. The two scrapped for 12 thrilling rounds after which both men seemed victorious. In the end Khan did more to win it, improving to 28-3 with the unanimous decision; 114-113, 115-113, 115-112.
The first three rounds were strong for Khan, as they often are. He seems to need no feeling-out time and immediately comes at his opponent. Khan continued to show just how fast his hands, and his feet, are.
Diaz was just the opposite. He had to take the time to pick up on the tendencies of his opponent in order to throw calculated, forceful combinations. The 33-year-old has a flat-footed, power punching style that leads itself to wins by knockout and losses by decision.
The strength of Diaz was exhibited in his stunning knockdown late in the fourth. The round began as a continuation of the third with Khan successfully bouncing around Diaz while popping in quick combinations. Then Diaz caught up with Khan and caught him with a crushing left hook, that dizzied the Brit, immediately followed with another to finish him off.
Khan recovered well. Even though he looked hurt when he went down he jumped up quickly and finished the round smart. The 26-year-old did not engage Diaz for the rest of the round, just jabbing off his back foot and using the full girth of the ring.
The knockdown in fact seemed to enliven Khan and put him on the offensive. He came right at Diaz in the fifth and dominated the next three rounds. Diaz was able to land a few big shots during these rounds but was fighting in spurts and not landing many clean punches.
In the final minute of the eighth round Diaz got Khan against the ropes and seemed to hurt him. The veteran Mexican brawler saw red and hunted down Khan for the rest of the round but was not able to bring him down. Diaz came out in the ninth seeming to have tired himself with the rampage and took the round off.
The tenth round revealed that Diaz was only taking a rest. He rocked Khan about 30 seconds into the round with yet another combination of hooks and it appeared that Khan would be on the mat soon. Khan wobbled his way around the ring looking like a toddler taking its first steps, bound to fall at any moment.
Some how he stayed on his feet not only after this encounter but for two more rounds of continued punishment from Diaz. At times Khan did fall back on his old ways: standing toe-to-toe against his opponent after being stunned. What made the difference in this fight was Khan’s ability to understand the err in his ways and use his strengths to avoid trouble, even if at times it took a little knocking around for him to figure out.
The judges got it right this time with all three scores being logical if not all together agreeable. The 115-112 card seems the correct score from here with Diaz taking the 4th,10th,11th and 12th rounds, the fourth being a 10-8-round due to the knockdown.