Former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan said that he expects to rebound from a two-fight losing streak thanks to new trainer Virgil Hunter when he returns to the ring on Dec. 15 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena for a Showtime-televised bout opposite unbeaten prospect Carlos Molina, of Norwalk, Calif.
Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts) will face Molina (18-0-1, 7 KOs) in his first fight under Hunter, the 2011 Trainer of The Year. Hunger also guides the career of RING, WBA, WBC and Showtime Super Six World Super Middleweight Boxing Classic Champion Andre Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist who was named Fighter of The Year for 2011.
“We have spoken quite a bit already,” said Khan, 25, of Bolton, England. “We discussed the fact that I am an offensive fighter, but now it is time to be a smart fighter, to win fights with my brain.”
Khan left trainer Freddie Roach after 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins following July’s fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia, whose triumph added Khan’s WBA belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
“[Hunter] told me that he wants the type of fighter-trainer relationship where we get along really well together, where we don’t just see each other at the gym,” said Khan. “We will watch tapes together and work out our game plan together. With Virgil, that is a style that will work for me.”
The loss to Garcia was the second in a row for Khan, whose winning streak under Roach ended with a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan began working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008. From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major title belts.
That stretch also included knockouts of New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
Khan says he’s ready to resume his winning ways, starting witth Molina, who is 26.
“I am excited for this fight. It will be in LA, where I hope to see my UK fans and American fight fans. I am sure Carlos Molina will have his fans turn up in support of him. And we can finish the year with a bang. Molina is an undefeated fighter, and all undefeated fighters are dangerous fighters,” said Khan.
“This fight is a step up for him and, in a way, it’s a step up for me too coming of a loss. I have to win this fight and I have to win it in good fashion. I’ve seen him fight. He is very skillful but he is beatable. I can win this fight but I need to win convincingly. This is the time to prove myself and I will do just that on December 15.”
Roach is the proprietor at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., where he is in anticipation of Manny Pacquiao’s arrival on Saturday to begin preparation for his fourth bout against Juan Manuel Marquez that is slated for Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Asked about Khan, Roach said, “I wish him the best.”
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]