By Dexter Reyes
Over the weekend Amir Khan fought aging veteran boxer Julio Diaz and won a unanimous decision victory. I have to admit that Khan looked horrible, he was getting tagged with combos, and dropped in the fourth round, his speed wasn’t there and his stamina was complete garbage.
Everyone was saying that Freddie Roach was overrated and he doesn’t teach defense but after seeing Amir Khan’s two fights under new trainer Virgil Hunter and without his strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, he looked unimpressive. When he fought Carlos Molina he looked sluggish, he was still getting hit with a lot of punches, in the Julio Diaz fight it was the same thing, slower, lacking in stamina, and getting hit with a lot of punches. I thought the reason he went to Virgil Hunter was to improve his defense? His defense actually got worse and his offense and conditioning suffered as well.
What made Amir Khan so special was his blazing hand speed and his in and out and side to side movement. He was a faster version of Manny Pacquiao. Khan’s never going to be a defensive slickster but he could avoid getting hit with minor defensive moves that Roach teaches like rolling under shots and covering up after throwing punches. Khan had felt he lost to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia because he was not getting the proper training time under Roach or Alex Ariza and felt he was being second fiddle to superstar boxer Manny Pacquiao. The truth is even though he had to go to the Philippines to train with Freddie and Alex he was still getting the proper training, the reasons he lost have nothing to do with Roach or Ariza.
When he lost to Lamont Peterson it was proven later that Peterson was on synthetic testosterone, and it was clear that Khan was at a disadvantage fighting in Peterson’s hometown with many factors against him like the referee who kept warning him over and over for pushing. Khan received his WBA light welterweight belt after it was revealed that Lamont Peterson tested positive for PED’s right before their rematch.
After the Peterson rematch fell through, halfway through training camp Khan hired a new strength and conditioning coach and fired Alex Ariza, he signed to fight WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia in a unification bout. When Khan fought Danny Garcia he was actually beating and frustrating Garcia to the point that Garcia looked like he was already out of the fight. Garcia was having difficulty timing Khan’s in and out movement and was getting hit with flurries left and right, the only reason Khan lost was because of a foolish mistake he made, and that was pulling back from punches with his head and chin in the air. Khan also has this machismo thing going, he always wants to prove that he can take a punch ever since his knockout to Breidis Prescott he will let guys hit him or mix it up when he doesn’t have to go toe to toe. If Khan kept his composure and used his blazing combos, and kept his hands up after throwing his fast punches, he would have beat Garcia by decision or have him quit on his stool.
Danny Garcia fought Zab Judah and although he was able to hurt Judah multiple times he couldn’t get him out of there, when Khan fought Judah he demolished him within 5 rounds and knocked him out. I believe if Khan gets back with Roach and Ariza and doesn’t make the same mistake he did against Garcia in their first fight he should beat Garcia.
Khan is still young only 26 years old and I hope he realizes that he was better off with Roach and Ariza in his corner. Don’t blame your losses on Roach spending more time with Manny Pacquiao, you actually benefited more traveling to the Philippines and training with Pacquiao because it was just you and Manny that Roach was focusing on and it was more peaceful so both of you guys benefited. Pacquiao is on his way out anyway, he only has a few more fights left before he retires, and listen to your trainer, don’t blame your losses on you make a mistake in the ring, look at Manny Pacquiao he was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez, he never blamed Roach, he accepted that he made a mistake and got caught it happens in boxing.
Roach’s offensive style fits Khan perfect, he just needs to stop getting careless and getting into unnecessary exchanges, and without Ariza, Khan’s speed and conditioning have suffered big time. Khan should realize that it’s not Roach or Ariza’s fault for him losing, those two guys took him to the top, Khan’s conditioning was amazing when he was with Ariza and his punch resistance against the hard hitting Marcos Maidana is a testament to that. I hope he realizes now that Roach and Ariza are the best trainers for him and comes back.
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