"Already I see a big difference in my defense, especially sparring with the sparring partners I have, like Karim Mayfield, Mike Dallas, and a couple of other guys I have. I've sparred with some good sparring partners for this fight; better than the fighter [Carlos Molina] really I believe. Like I said, it's just going to be a different ball game when we get in the fight...I'm becoming a better defensive fighter and a more smart fighter. We have changed. You will see a change in my style and, you know, the way I fight. Don't get me wrong, we're still explosive and exciting to watch, but more smarter and more wiser...I think this time, we're going to be more smarter, more wiser, we're going to pick the right shots, and we're going to show people what we've learned in the gym being with Virgil," stated former jr. welterweight champion Amir Khan, who talked about his upcoming December 15 clash with Carlos Molina. Check out what else he had to say!
BT: Amir, you're wrapping up your first training camp with Virgil Hunter. How's everything been going?
AK: Virgil's a great trainer, man. I mean, he's been helping me work on a lot of new stuff and be more smart. You know, use my advantages that I have. I have speed, I have power, I have great footwork and movement. If you look at my last couple of fights, I've not been using them. I've just been going in there and having wars with people when I don't need to, you know. I mean, if you look at the fight with Garcia, I was boxing him until I got too confident and thought, "Aw, this is easy. I can hit him," and tried going in there knocking him out, when I shouldn't have. I should've just beat them up and let them retire. Why try knocking them out, you know, because a knockout will come itself. He's made me understand that and be more patient and be much more of a smarter fighter.
BT: Obviously you don't plan on giving your game plan away, so without getting into specifics, what kind of things did you work on with Virgil?
AK: Defensively, you know, we're working a lot of stuff defensively. Already I see a big difference in my defense, especially sparring with the sparring partners I have, like Karim Mayfield, Mike Dallas, and a couple of other guys I have. I've sparred with some good sparring partners for this fight; better than the fighter [Carlos Molina] really I believe. Like I said, it's just going to be a different ball game when we get in the fight.
BT: I know every fight is important, but some view this fight as a tune-up of sort for you. Just how big of a fight is this for you?
AK: For me, this is a big fight because I plan on beating a guy who's dangerous and who wants to win. I'm sure he doesn't want to lose his unbeaten record, so he's going to be wanting to win. And he thinks he's got Amir Khan at the best time. A lot of people are thinking, you know, "He's lost his last fight, got KO'd, and I think it's the best time to catch him and to beat him." I think it's probably the worst time to fight me because I know how much I want it and I know how serious I am. I know I had to work on stuff and I worked on them things. That's the reason why I moved from the Wild Card gym. I think we've done everything that we had to do. Just get past this fight and then we'll start, you know, not looking too far ahead, but just taking it one step at a time.
BT: So what ultimately made you go with Virgil Hunter as your new trainer?
AK: I saw Andre fight a long time ago. You know, me and him are from the same Olympics in '04. I thought to myself, "Look at how he's changed his style, you know, become a better fighter offensively and defensively." I thought that's one thing that I need to work on. Offensively, I'm a good fighter. Defensively, I'm one of the worst fighters. I'm my own critic. I criticize myself, so I think I need to work on that. If you look at the past couple of fights, in Freddie's gym, we still kept doing the same things. We never really worked on defense, but maybe things were going right and that's why. I just needed a change I think. The change was to go somewhere different and have someone else telling me what to do and what not to do. It's always good to make a change I think. I mean, Freddie made me a 2-time world champion. I won the WBA and I also won the IBF, so he's done a lot for me in my career. I think with Virgil, I think he can take me to that next level now. I'm becoming a better defensive fighter and a more smart fighter. We have changed. You will see a change in my style and, you know, the way I fight. Don't get me wrong, we're still explosive and exciting to watch, but more smarter and more wiser. You know, walking into the gym as well, it's just really quiet so you can think and you know exactly what to do. I mean, the Wild Card's a great place to be, but sometimes you can lose focus and concentration because a lot of people come in and out. Here, there's noone that comes here. We just work. That's all it is, just train, train, train.
BT: Was it difficult to make the transition to a new trainer who focuses on different training techniques after working with Freddie Roach for so long, or did you just dive right in?
AK: You know, the purpose of the stuff that we do in the gym as well, I mean, like I said, sometimes it's nice to walk into a gym and think about what you need to do. It's always hard to think when you have a bunch of people in the gym. I think there's always a thing that you're always proving a point when there's loads of people in the gym, but when there's only like a couple of you, 1, 2 or 3 fighters, and they know what level you're on, you know there's going to be bad days and there's gonna be good days, but you're going to fix all of the bad days and you're gonna improve. So you don't mind getting hit just to work on something so you can improve it so you don't get hit. So that's one thing that we like that we've been doing over here, you know, have time to think. It's easier to concentrate and get to do what you want to do.
BT: When Danny Garcia's fight with Erik Morales looked like it might fall through, you were quick to say you would be willing to face Garcia if he wanted to pull out of that fight. Do you think that's taken for granted somewhat, the fact that you've always been willing to face anyone?
AK: You know one thing about me is noone can ever say that I don't fight anyone who they put in front of me. I fight everyone they put in front of me. I've fought people in the their home states, gone to their state and fought them, I've been robbed, I've fought tough fights against the likes of Maidana and Judah and them guys; I've never said no to an opponent. Whoever they put in front of me, I've fought. You know, when I got beat by Garcia, I know what mistakes I made, so I'm willing to fight him again because I know I can beat him. I told him, I said, "Look, I'll fight you in rematch. We should do it again." It's a fight everyone wants to see. It's not like it's a fight that people don't want to see. People know what was happening in that fight. You know, we were beating him. If I was getting outboxed in the first round and then I got knocked out in the fight, then fine, but because it was a one-sided fight until I got caught, until I believe myself I got complacent, I think people want that rematch. A lot of people have been talking like, "Yeah, the should have a rematch." If there was a rematch, they know who would win the fight. You can go in the streets and say, "If Amir Khan and Danny Garcia had a rematch, who would win?" I mean, people know. I've learned from my mistakes. Since the Peterson fight got called off, I think mentally I wasn't ready for the whole fight. I rushed into it because the Peterson fight got called off. I needed a fight so I said yes. Whoever they put in front of me, I'd say yes to. They said, "Garcia." I said, "Yeah, no problem." I hadn't really seen Garcia fight, to be honest with you. I probably only saw four rounds of him and Morales fight, so that's the reason, you know. I think I took the fight too quick when really I should've just chilled and just took my time a little bit and watched a few more videos and stuff and seen what I was going up against. It's a learning curve and I think not many fighters of my caliber, and also with the name we have and the position we're in, we can fight anyone and make a lot of money, but we still fight the best out there and not many fighters in my position would do that. But we do think we need that rematch because I think it's a fight that people want to see and I want it because I know I'm a better fighter and I made a mistake.
BT: When you do fight Molina, is there anything in particular that fans should keep an eye out for when you unveil the new and improved Amir Khan?
AK: I think we'll just wait until we get in the ring, because I think you will see a different style, a more smart, careful style. In the past, we got too excited at times and tried to go in knocking the opponent out. I think this time, we're going to be more smarter, more wiser, we're going to pick the right shots, and we're going to show people what we've learned in the gym being with Virgil. So that's what they're going to see.
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