|Amir Khan: "Things happen for a reason"
INTERVIEW By Gabriel Montoya, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 14, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com
Hollywood, CA: This past week, I had the pleasure of observing 2004 Silver Medalist Amir Khan, 18-1 (14), at the Wild Card as he prepares for his comeback fight with Oisin Fagan, 22-5 (13). Khan, rebuilding under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, looked more relaxed and confident then ever as he sparred eight rounds with Dean Byrne and Arron Robinson, two young fighters out of the Wild Card. Byrne is an Irish-born prospect with a record of 9-0 with 3 KOs. Robinson, 6-2-1 (4), is a well traveled prospect who has sparred with both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr among others. The
three made for an impressive show as the used every inch of the ring to test out some of Khan's new skills.
From what I have seen of Khan, he has the work ethic of a world class fighter with the speed and athleticism to match. He also appears to have the intelligence to understand his mistakes and learn from them. He spoke with great candor during the session as we covered fight mechanics, his loss, and the changes that Freddie Roach has brought to him. Please, welcome for the first time to Doghouseboxing.com, Amir Khan.
Gabriel Montoya: What's the biggest change for you working with Freddie?
Amir Khan: The biggest change has been sparring with Manny. A lot of sparring. Techniques I've never heard of before. I've had some coaches in the past who were good. Freddie's been the best.
GM: How many coaches?
AK: Three coaches.
GM: As a pro?
AK: As a pro, yeah. Freddie is one of the best, you know? They're all good coaches, but… My confidence is up. Freddie gets your confidence up. If he says you're doing something good, then you must be. Because of who he's worked with. Oscar, Manny, and all the great fighters.
GM: What do you see as the big difference with him? Is it more of a refining of your style or a complete change?
AK: Oh it's not a complete change. You can think about it as, I keep my style but am correcting some things. He makes me work on new things. He made me a better fighter. Whatever I do, I kept that. I kept the same style. Just corrected things.
GM: Finding all those defensive holes? That sort of thing?
AK: Exactly. Working on things I should have worked on a long time ago. Basic stuff, you know?
GM: Now you had your loss. Does that still loom in your mind? Will that be gone when you win another fight?
GM: Will it always be there?
AK: It's already out of my mind. I forgot about it. You know, I'm training hard over here. I put it past me. I'm a fighter. I'm no longer undefeated. But I know I'm going to come back stronger for it. And I'm not going to make the same mistakes again. And that's why one of the reasons I came over here to train in L.A. with one of the best coaches in the world. So yeah. It's going really well.
GM: You think it's better it happened now rather than...?
AK: Yeah. Exactly. It could have been too late. It could have happened in a world title fight. It’s going to make me focus more and train harder. When the world title fight comes I'm gong to win that.
GM: Ultimately it will make you a better fighter?
AK: A lot better, yeah.
GM: How long has it taken you to acclimate to the way American boxers fight? The guys that you're fighting. Had you fought with many before?
AK: I blended in. I adapted quite quickly. You know, getting that confidence back again. Sparring a lot with good quality sparring. The sparring IS brilliant. He's getting good work out of me. On the mitts. The bag work. Someone telling you what to do. If I make a mistake, tell me my mistakes. You know in England, they might say that's OK. But here, it's not that way.
GM: What's been the biggest difference for you between the amateurs and the pros? Obviously besides the headgear.
AK: In the amateurs, it's fast pace. Whereas here, it's more technical. You think about what you have to do. The pace is slower. You pick your shots more. It’s more professional in that in the amateurs you can fight every four days. In the pros, you can only get one chance at it. And if you mess that up, you might not come back again. More serious, I think.
GM: It'll be another six months before you?
GM: How much do you know about your next opponent?
AK: I've seen a few videos of him. The things I've been doing are preparing me for his style. He comes forward. I won't have to look for him. He's a pressure fighter. I think he will be perfect. It's a good style for me to get back in the ring again. I think beating him technically. Clinically. If I got a good showing, they'll put me back up there again, you know? I can't show no flaws, no bad things. I can't show anything. I just have to get in there, stay focused and do a good job on him.
GM: Do you watch a lot of tape usually?
AK: Yeah. I watch a lot of tapes and Freddie's been telling me a lot of what to do for the next fight. And been giving some good tips. We've been working on some new punches and skills and tactics that we have to do for the fight. I'm enjoying myself. And that's the important thing. Things happen for a reason. And I think that last fight happened for reason. If it didn't happen, I wouldn't be here.
GM: Do you want that rematch?
AK: Oh yeah. Definitely. Sooner rather than later. I'm a warrior. I'll fight anybody. He's not a better fighter than me. I just got caught. 60 seconds? C'mon. Definitely.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com .
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