Khan and Roach make a good team (pic Jeff Fusco)
By Clive Bernath: It is fair to say that Amir Khan has improved immeasurably since being knocked out so ferociously by Breidis Prescott in September 2008. Many experts and knowledgeable hardcore boxing fans were at the time of the opinion the former Olympic silver medallist was just another hyped up British prospect falling apart when faced with their first serious test.
Credit where its due Amir has picked himself up, proved his critics wrong and five fights and two years later, is now the WBA junior-welterweight champion. Whats more, on Saturday night the Khan makes his Las Vegas debut when he faces Argentine puncher Marcus Maidana.
Make no mistake it takes a very talented boxer to come through the other side following such a potentially career damaging loss and Khan has worked incredibly hard get where he is today. But equally Khan is also fully aware of the huge impact respected American trainer Freddie Roach has had on rejuvenating his career so.
Speaking to James ‘Smitty’ Smith from inthiscorner.tv Khan said: “ Freddie has brought so much to my style. He’s taught me to keep my defence high. I’m not fighting with my heart now.
“I’ve got a good boxing brain and I’m using that again now. That’s what got me so far in my amateur and pro career. Freddie likes me to stay on my toes and use my speed and movement. I don’t need to get involved. I don’t need to sit there and fight with people. I’ve got quick hands and quick feet why don’t I use that?
Khan added: “We stick to a game plan in a fight and up to now its worked for me. I’ve been with Freddie now for five fights and two years and I’ve never lost a round. And that shows how I listen to instructions and how I stick to the game plan.”
"I have that much trust in him(Roach) that when I go into a fight I’ll only listen to him and no one else.”
Roach is in total agreement with the British fighter in terms of how he absorbs information , even going so far as to say that, Khan, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Wednesday, is the best boxer he has ever trained at following a game plan and listening to instructions.
“Khan is a great prospect,” insists Roach. “He’s a champion already but he’s gonna be a multi time world champion. I think possibly he’ll be the next Manny Pacquiao.
“He has a lot of the same speed, work ethic. His work ethic is crazy, him and Manny(Pacquiao)are the only ones that can keep up with each other in my gym.”
When asked what Khan does best in the ring, Roach quickly countered; “ He listens. I’ve never had a fighter that listens so well. He follows the game plan and sticks to it. He keeps himself in safe places. He made a mistake once in his life(knockout loss to Breidis Prescott) and he knows he’s never gonna make that again.”
December 10, 2010