LONDON: Amir Khan was given the fight – and the fright – he needed as he continued his climb back towards the big time.
He won the second fight of his comeback by a mile, as he should, but this was not the easy walk in the park he had predicted.
Samuel Vargas, having arrived in Birmingham virtually unheralded, took his punishment like the truest of ring warriors to last the 12-round distance.
This, and the right hand to that supposedly egg-shell chin from which he had to climb quickly from an early knock down, ended up being part of Khan’s preparation for the super-fights to come.
The crowd in Arena Birmingham accepted that and cheered the victory.
They cheered even louder when he asked them if they would like him to fight first the legendary Manny Pacquiao, then his British arch-rival Kell Brook in the months ahead.
There is never a dull moment with their Amir. There were more knock-downs a-plenty to keep the excitement at fever pitch, especially when Khan could not resist going into slug-fest rather than boxing his way to a routine win.