Amir Khan has been here before. Coming back from a knockout defeat is, unfortunately for the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, nothing new. Breidis Prescott was the first man to beat Khan by brutal knockout in the first round of their clash back in 2008. It was, by Khan’s own admission, a wake up call. When Khan looks back at that fight the only words he can summon is a simple two word phrase: “thank you.” For that defeat made Khan pursue change and move across the Atlantic to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in Los Angeles, California. In short, it made him make changes so he could further his career for the better.
Four years on and here we are again. A fourth round TKO loss against Danny Garcia has forced Khan to face change once again. He’s still in California, but he’s not in Hollywood – he’s moved further north to Oakland where he has hooked up with Virgil Hunter – most known for his success with super-middleweight king-pin Andre Ward. The link up with Hunter comes after deciding to leave Freddie Roach – citing that he needed a change in order to focus on different aspects of his game and, moreover, that he needed a trainer to give him his full attention. It was a decision many had called for and time will tell if it has proved to be the right one.
Khan has attributes that can take him to the top, but a leaky defence and poor decision making inside the ropes have lead him to where he is today. Arguably, a trainer is not the sole reason for why Khan suffered a loss against Garcia. His willingness to trade and stand toe-to-toe are feats he must avoid.
From the small snippets that could be seen on Sky Sports Behind The Ropes show, it would appear Virgil Hunter is focusing more on Khan being smarter in his attacks; knowing when to use his speed and when not to use it. Working on defensive techniques has been incorporated into Khan’s training, but the old adage of knowing what to do and actually being able to do it comes to the fore here.
We are being promised a new and improved Amir Khan. If changes have been made then subtle signs will be seen. However, the man standing across from him at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Carlos Molina, will be hoping to further derail Khan’s comeback plans and exploit the defensive weaknesses that may still be there.
Molina, a 17-0 lightweight with 7KO’s, has been picked for a reason. Khan needs a comeback fight with little risk after his defeat to Garcia. With only 7KO’s it’s unlikely that Molina will be able to inflict the same amount of hurt upon Khan that Prescott and Garcia managed. That said, Molina is unbeaten and is fighting in his home-town. This is a massive opportunity for him and doors will open should he emerge victorious. Molina has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if the fight goes with the script, a good performance from Molina will have fans and TV networks wanting to see him fight again. It’s a win-win situation for him.
On the other hand, Khan has everything to lose. A loss here will push him further away from recapturing a world title and, in addition, will leave people wondering just what else he has to offer the sport. It’s a must win fight for Khan. It’s as simple as that.