Molina ready to step up
Underdog Carlos Molina believes Amir Khan's scalp will be his ticket to world title glory as the two men prepare to square off on Saturday.
The unbeaten Californian is being portrayed as a soft touch with Khan returning to the ring on the back of two devastating defeats against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.
Molina's record of 17-0 with just seven knockouts - built at lightweight before this step up to light-welterweight - is not the most threatening Khan has faced but both Peterson and Garcia were also rank outsiders before upsetting the British fighter.
Khan's name still carries weight, however, and Molina believes inflicting yet another defeat on the Bolton man in Los Angeles will pave the way to a world title shot.
"I'm just excited to be fighting Amir Khan," said the 27-year-old American. "I know this is a big step up for me and beating Amir Khan is going to catapult me to the next level, which is becoming a world champion.
"It's a huge step up in class but I think that's only going to elevate my skills and being in the ring with Amir Khan will take me on to a whole other level. The whole world is going to know who I am when I beat him.
"I think there's more pressure on him because everybody's looking at him beating me in an easy fight. Little do they know they picked the wrong opponent. I have no pressure, I've just got to go in there and do what I've been doing my whole life, which is just fight. I've been doing it since I was a little kid."
Molina added: "I know he's probably going to be a little more defensive in the early rounds but once he starts to get hit, he's going to go back to the same Amir Khan we've seen before. We're going to test that chin on Saturday night and find out if he's chinny!"
Khan is grateful to be topping the bill in America once more, despite his current form.
Tickets for the bout at the LA Memorial Sports Arena have sold slowly but the former Olympic silver medalist remains a draw for television executives.
"Having lost my last two fights but still coming to America and topping the bill and having a great fight with good coverage is brilliant," he told Press Association Sport.
"We know we made mistakes in the past and we won't make them again. This is a big fight for me. We know we aren't going to make mistakes in this fight because we just can't afford to.
"I'm a wiser, smarter, more mature fighter and on Saturday I'll be ready to show that.
"I'm only just 26 and people forget how young I am. I'm still a baby in the sport of boxing and I did everything so young. I'm already a two-time world champion but there's still a lot to come.
"My new trainer Virgil Hunter has taught me so much and there's more I can do. You'll see more from me in this fight. You'll see a new Amir Khan.
"I got caught with a shot against Garcia. Look at how Manny Pacquiao got caught the other day by a guy he should have beaten. That's the sport we're in, where one punch can change a fight.
"I believe I won the fight against Peterson in my previous fight but I just didn't get it. But against Garcia I made a mistake and I paid for it. That's one of the reasons I changed my trainer and trained a lot of things about my career. I'm a smarter, better fighter now."