Amir Khan: "I need to change my style as we don’t want to be knocked out or hurt again"
Amir Khan: "I need to change my style as we don’t want to be knocked out or hurt again"
By Jenna Jay, OnTheRopes Boxing Radio, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 19, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
On the Ropes Radio #181 -  Amir Khan
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Amir “King” Khan is set to make his return to the ring December 15th at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, against the undefeated Carlos Molina. Khan, who is coming off a TKO4 loss to Danny Garcia, has a lot of questions surrounding him going into this return bout, as he has a new trainer and people are wondering if he can get back to where he once was in the sport. 

I spoke with Amir during my 181st edition of “On The Ropes” to get his views on his upcoming match and his thoughts on where he is now in boxing. I also discussed his decision to change trainers and how he believes this move is going to help his career going forward. Additionally Amir spoke on the return of Ricky Hatton, his views on the upcoming Manny Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez bout and much more! Here is what Amir had to say:

Jenna Jay: Amir you have a new fight set up, can you tell the fans about it and what’s been going on with you since we last saw you in the ring?

Amir Khan: I’m fighting Carlos Molina on 15th Dec in LA arena. I’m looking forward to the fight, it’s been a tough, tough journey over the last 12 months that I’ve had. Initially having the loss against Peterson, I still believe that I won the fight, and I didn’t get it. I tried to get it again, but it didn’t happen because of the drug tests, after the whole training camp, 10 weeks, the fight was called off. I took maybe a week or two off and then jumped in with Danny Garcia. I hold my hands up, I got caught with a shot I shouldn’t have got caught with. After winning the first couple of rounds so easily, my mind went off the game plan. I got caught with a big shot, to be honest, even though I got up from the first knock down, I didn’t recover. I still believe I could have carried on after the 3rd knockdown but it wasn’t the case. I’ve got a lot of respect for Danny Garcia, he beat me. But I would love to have a rematch with him, and hopefully settle the score. 

Jenna: What are your thoughts on your next opponent, Carlos Molina, as a fighter?

Khan: He’s a tough fighter. He’s a lightweight moving up but I’ve had more lightweight fights than him anyway. Most of his fights have been just under or around the 140 mark. He’s undefeated so he has something to prove. I’m coming off a KO loss, whereas he’s undefeated and will be full of confidence. I’ve been KO’d before and I’ve come back, I’ve changed my trainer to Virgil Hunter so I’m no longer working with Freddy Roach. I know what I did wrong last time.

Jenna: You recently make a switch in trainers from Freddie Roach to Virgil Hunter, why did you feel you needed to make that change?

Khan: I think my style isn’t really being an aggressive fighter. My style is being the counter fighter, in-out, hit and move. Maybe it (the aggressive style) happened because I started to knock out opponents, started hurting my opponents, and I thought to myself – ‘Maybe I could hurt some of these guys instead of just boxing them’. I think I believed in my own power more than anything, and that was my downfall. I should go back to basics, do what I do best which is hit and move and don’t go looking for the knock outs.

Jenna: How hard was the decision to make that change in trainers?

Khan: It wasn’t too hard really, I need someone who is going to be with me 100%, people can say that because he has Andre Ward he’s not going to spend much time with me, but it’s not the case, Virgil has been spending day in and day out with me, telling me what to do right, and making me improve my mistakes. I need someone to advise me of that. I think I made the best move in leaving Freddy to work with Virgil, because Virgil has something that will take me to the next level. In just a few weeks I’m a changed fighter, I’m more focused, I’m thinking about what I’m doing, I take my time more. I see what I’m doing instead of just going in throwing shots. It’s about doing things right and doing things smart.

Jenna: Amir, one of the few criticisms you get is that you are a little to brave when you get hurt in the ring. Do you think so?

Khan: I think I have too big of a heart. I’m an exciting fighter, and when I get hurt I think I get into fight mode with my opponent. My style is ‘hit and move’ and if I am hurt, I need to think about that, and get back to basics instead of rushing in there and trying to knock my opponent out. That’s what we’re changing. If I get hit, I will regroup myself, and think about what attack I’m going to make next instead of just throwing anything. In previous fights, I’ve relied too much on my speed. Now I’m going to fight smart, and pick my shots at the right time. I need to change my style as we don’t want to be knocked out or hurt again. I’ve learned the hard way. Danny Garcia has a big KO percentage, and hit me with a huge shot on the side of the neck. I think that would have hurt anyone, so people who say that I can’t take a shot – I think that Garcia would have knocked out anyone with that shot. I’ll come back stronger, wiser and eventually come back a better fighter for it.

Jenna: Your next fight is at 140lbs, why did you decide to stay at that weight? Before the Garcia fight you were talking about moving up?

Khan: The reason is because I think it takes a long time to move up to the next weight category. I’m thinking 6-9 months to move up, build up the muscle mass. I initially wanted to move up after the Garcia fight, but because I lost, I’m going back to basics, build up and have 1 or 2 more fights at this weight category and then move up.

Jenna: What have you been learning from Virgil Hunter?

Khan: Virgil Hunter is a great trainer, he’s a great guy. He’s not afraid to tell me that I’m making a mistake. He’s one of those guys who will say ‘you’re doing this wrong, do it right’ and he’ll be upset if I don’t do it right. He’s telling me straight. He’s not a nice guy about it, it’s the way you have to be taught. I like to be taught that way as well, he’s very strict – make them stick. I have to do it right, or I’m in trouble, and that’s in the ring as well as with Virgil Hunter. That what Virgil likes to bring to the table, he wants me to respect him and do things the right way. He only wants the best out of me. And looking at how he’s worked with other guys, like Andre Ward, I think he could take me to the next level. It takes two, I have to listen and learn, and Virgil is going to teach me.

Jenna: Well, besides your upcoming return to the ring, a fellow British fighter is also making his return as Ricky Hatton has a fight later this month, how do you see him doing in his comeback?

Khan: With Ricky, he’s a good fighter, but being out of the ring 3 years is a long, long time; and fluctuating in weight could be quite bad for you. I think it depends on the next fight, if he wins that fight and it’s a good win, and then it could maybe happen. There’s been a lot of talk over the last 4 years about that fight, and if it did happen it’d be one of the biggest fights that ever happened in the UK. I know Ricky well, I’m good friends with him, but boxing is a business and sometimes you have to fight your friend. I’m hoping he comes back with a good win, and blows the cobwebs off and he comes in for some big fights. Hopefully in the future there could be one for us both.

Jenna: Do you think Ricky winning is enough to get a fight with you, or do you think there needs to be a title on the line to make it happen?

Khan: It’s a fight that would sell regardless. In England there will be interest in that fight everywhere, because we’re both from the same country. Because of our proximity, and knowing each other – title or no title, it’s huge. We both have other people to worry about so there are things for us both to do before we can move on there.

Jenna: Amir, of all the losses you have had in your career, which is the most important for you to avenge?

Khan: I think the Garcia one, it’s a fight that I should have won, and I made a mistake. With winning so comfortably and letting the game plans go out of the window. I think about it sometimes, I had everything going for me, I let myself go, I lost focus, I wasn’t smart. It’s a fight I’d like to avenge.

Jenna: There was a lot of talk of a Mayweather fight before you lost to Garcia, do you think that fight would of happened had you won?

Khan: Maybe it was on the table. Had I gotten through the Garcia fight then maybe there was a shot of that fight happening. I believe things happen for a reason, maybe that loss made me go back to the drawing board and rethink about my whole career. It’s why I’ve changed my trainer, it’s the reason why I’ve moved from LA to California, and so things happen for a reason. I believe that one day when I do fight a big name like Floyd Mayweather, I will be at my best instead of being 80% or 90%. I think that when things happen there’s always a reason, and a lesson in disguise. We just have to use it to our advantage and use it to build on our mistakes and come back better.

Jenna: Amir, as a boxing fan it seems to me that people expect so much from you, and forget that you are only 25 and have already accomplished a lot. Do you think people expect too much from you?

Khan: Oh, 100%, it’s like if I beat Danny Garcia there is the Floyd Mayweather fight. I’m 25, and Floyd is nearly 10 years older than me, so things were going so quick and I was rushing myself, and so were my promoters. I think there’s time to slow down and learn the trade, not just winning them (the fights). Taking too many big fights could be quite bad for you. I need to take care of myself, I want to walk out of the sport, the same way I walked in. The big fights will come, I’m only 25, I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet. I can always improve and I’m always getting better. I just have to keep on driving away and working hard.

Jenna: Alright, well I want to change things up a little and get your view on an upcoming fight. Manny Pacquiao is set to face Juan Manuel Marquez in a fourth fight. How do you see that playing out?

Khan: I think that Manny Pacquiao is just going to walk through him this time. I think that Manny has been in with better opposition, I know that the 3rd fight was close last time, but this time, he knows what to expect, what he could lose. So he’s going to win this one. I’m always behind Manny, I like him as a person, and he’s a good friend of mine. Marquez is a name that we were looking at 3 or 4 fights ago, and it never happened. There are a lot of fights that I was looking at to happen, that didn’t. Maybe we would not be in this position if that had happened. Before the Peterson fight it was meant to be Tim Bradley, for the undisputed fight for all 4 light welterweight titles, me having two and him having two but he didn’t take the fight. That kind of changed plans, originally he (Bradley) was calling me out, and when I said let’s put pen to paper, things changed and he didn’t do it. Boxing is a business, at the end of the day; we have to be smart about it. You have to think about yourself, because it’s a tough sport and you can get hurt.

Jenna: Ok, back to your upcoming fight. What is your official prediction?

Khan: It’s going to be a good win; I’m working on new techniques. I’m going to bring them into the ring, and you’re going to see a new Amir Khan. A smarter fighter, we’re going to put on a good fight and show how good we are. 

Jenna: Finally, is there any message you want to pass along to your fans?

Khan: I want to thank everyone for their support, and for being behind me. It gives me a lot of confidence, and you can follow me on twitter, to see what I’m doing in my training camp and working with Virgil. I hope to see you all in LA, it’s going to be a good fight, the fight will be on Showtime so tune in.

Special thanks go out to Jay from for helping to bring this interview to boxing readers.

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