Amir Khan insists that he is better than ever as he prepares to take on Carlos Molina next Saturday on the back of two defeats in the past 12 months and a change of trainers.
The 25-year-old former world light-welterweight champion was last seen dumped on his back by Danny Garcia in July, a second successive defeat that persuaded him to leave trainer Freddie Roach in Los Angeles for Virgil Hunter, voted American Boxing Writers’ Trainer of the Year for 2011 and the man behind world champion Andre Ward, in San Francisco.
Now Khan, a former Olympic silver medallist, is convinced a combination of leaving Roach for Hunter and fighting live on the American national network, CBS, will launch him back into the big time.
“I’ve been working on a lot of new techniques and tactics which means you’’ be seeing a different Amir Khan next week,” Khan insisted last night as he prepared for the fight at the LA Centre in Los Angeles.
“You won’t see the same old mistakes. What’s happened in the past year has made me go back to the drawing board. It’s made me work harder and change a lot of things in my life. I had to make some big decisions, like changing trainers, but the reason why I came to Virgil is because he’s one if the best, if not the best defensive trainer in the world.
“I’m still going to be an exciting fighter but it’s all about being smart out there. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of watching videos of me fighting and the mistakes I’ve made, and a lot of listening to Virgil, too.
“It’s like going back to when I was 17 years old and fighting men. Now I have to listen extra again because I’m up against a tough guy and I know I need to get my career back on track again. I was making a lot of mistakes in fights and still winning. Losing makes you really think about everything.”
The move to the Bay Area seems to have worked, judging by Khan’s critical comments regarding his previous regime.
“I was the number two fighter behind Manny Pacquaio and it got difficult to get times because everything was geared towards him. With Virgil he treats all his boxers like his number one when they are the one with the next fight. That’s how it should be.”
Khan can understand why his unbeaten American opponent will be confident.
“Molina will come forward in the fight. Boxing in his home town will be a boost for him, and he’ll want to win in front of his fans. He’ll be extra confident because he’s unbeaten and I’m coming in off a loss.”
He is also under no illusions over what another defeat could mean, after a record of 26 wins and three defeats leaves his career on the precipice.
“There’s a lot on the line for this fight. We definitely need a win and get back to winning ways. If I lost three in a row I’d be in a really tough position
“I don’t think I will. I’m only 25 and I still believe I can not just get back to being a world champion again, but become a great in boxing.”
Khan v Molina is live on Sky Sports 1 HD and on mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go.