Amir Khan’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, has revealed that he was “totally against” him agreeing to move up two weight divisions to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last May, a fight in which the Bolton fighter was knocked out in the fifth round.
The American trainer, with whom Khan works in Oakland, California, said: “I let him know that was stupid, crazy. For what? The Canelo fight was a fight I was totally against. But once I saw it wasn’t going to change, I told him: ‘I can get you through this fight, but we don’t have any margin for error. You have to focus every second of every round. If you lose focus it could be disastrous for you.’ ”
Khan was winning the contest on points, in Las Vegas, until he was dropped by a huge right hand in the fifth round. Khan has not fought since, but is expected to announce his next contest this week.
“If you look at that fight, Amir could have beaten any welterweight that night. Because Amir had no room for error. Even when he got caught, we’d worked on that. The whole plan was keep Canelo down to one punch at a time. We did that. Don’t go to the ropes. He did that. Keep him in the middle of the ring and pick him.
“If he starts getting tired, you start bringing combinations in. He did that. When he dips down he telegraphs what he’s going to do to the body. Take a half step back. He did that. That punch would’ve knocked most people out.”
Hunter said Khan “could have been the best welterweight ever. Because of the things he can do. He still has an upside – with his hand speed. His speed should last him at least another three years. If he learns this, even if he loses one tenth of a second, it would be hard to pick up if you’re out of position. If I’m a half foot closer I can lose that tenth of a second if I know what to do”.
Khan, who has undergone surgery on his right handt, plans to fight three times this year, and retire in two years’ time. Hunter added: “I’m looking for Amir to maybe go on Andre Berto’s card April 22. Or the 29th. Then he’s got to get back to Ramadan. I think he’s doing it smart, plotting out a course. He couldn’t turn down the Manny Pacquiao fight if they were talking about that kind of money, particularly when it was $38 million at one time. I told him you’d be a fool if you don’t get 15 of that.
“I can tell now Khan’s a little down because of what happened. He just needs to get through the next opponent and he needs to get through another one and at the end of the year just go for it – whoever’s there. He’s been here for almost two months now so he’s in good condition.”