Pakistani-British boxer Amir Khan is at a career crossroads after a string of recent defeats in the ring. His fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas in July came on the heels of a controversial split decision reversal to Lamont Peterson last December, leaving his prime time future in doubt. And after that, he split with celebrated trainer Freddie Roach.
His new coach is Virgil Hunter of the San Francisco Bay Area, and most notably coach of undefeated super-middlweight Andre Ware. Now, with new coach in toe, Khan takes on another Californian, undefeated Carlos Molina, in Los Angeles next weekend.
â€œI canâ€™t afford to lose, I have got to win this fight,â€™ acknowledged the former unified light-welterweight champion. â€œIt is always tough when you face an unbeaten opponent as he will be very confident in his own backyard but I believe I can beat him and get back to the very top. I am very confident and I havenâ€™t even thought about losing. I have enjoyed a very good training camp and have worked on defensive and offensive techniques. I am more than ready.â€
Coach Virgil Hunter is not lacking in confidence in his new protÃ©gÃ©. â€œAmir is an exceptional fighter,â€™ he said. â€œI am very pleased with the progress he has exhibited and with his ability to understand the improvements he needed to make. Carlos Molina is an ambitious fighter, an undefeated fighter and he will think Amir is damaged goods. But Amir surprised me with the level of confidence he displayed after his last defeat. He has worked hard, has exceptional ability and has learnt the improvements I asked him to make to his technique very quickly.â€
Khan has also been sparring with other forces. He was disappointed that the government of Pakistan refused his offer to provide free training to Pakistani boxers. â€œIt seems nobody took it serious in Pakistan. I wish Pakistan could win Gold medal in Olympics.â€ Khanâ€™s father also jumped into the fray, saying, â€œWe offered them to send Pakistani youngsters for boxing training and we will bear all their expenses but nobody showed interest in Pakistan.â€