Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Freddie Roach: Amir Khan can beat Floyd Mayweather

Photo by Ed Mulholland

Photo by Ed Mulholland


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – With Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s monopoly on Cinco De Mayo in jeopardy, the search is on for an opponent with a name big enough to secure Mayweather’s position in boxing’s pay-per-view market.

The likely frontrunner to fill the vacancy opposite Mayweather in May 2015 will be the victor between Amir Khan and Devon Alexander, who meet Dec. 13 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In particular, Khan (29-3, 19 knockouts) has the sort of name recognition and fan following which could hold off challenges from Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the former Mayweather opponent who has defiantly vowed to return to HBO against Mayweather’s PPV match on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Both Khan and Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs) have won world titles at 140 pounds. Alexander also added a belt at welterweight.

Should Khan emerge with a win and earn a shot at THE RING’s pound-for-pound king, one of his former trainers feels the British star has a solid shot at handing Mayweather his first defeat.

Freddie Roach, who had guided the fighter from Bolton, England from 2008-2012 before splitting, says he believes Khan’s mobility and speed would give the 37-year-old Mayweather fits.

“I always thought Amir had the talent to maybe beat someone like Mayweather. I think it’s a very good fight for Amir. I give him a very good chance to win that fight,” said Roach, who is winding up WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao’s training for his Nov. 22 bout with Chris Algieri.

“He’s fast, he’s athletic. He’s a pretty good puncher, not a great puncher. He has all the abilities in the world.”

Khan, 27, has won three fights against mid-level opposition since suffering a fourth-round technical knockout against Danny Garcia in 2012, which prompted him to switch trainers to Virgil Hunter, with whom he now holds camps in California’s Bay Area.

Khan had spent much of 2014 hunting for a fight with Mayweather before ending a 13-month layoff with a one-sided victory over Luis Collazo in May on the undercard of Mayweather’s first bout with Marcos Maidana.

Despite being unbeaten so far in his run with Hunter, Roach says he doesn’t like the new adjustments he’s seen to Khan’s style.

“I like him in-and-out a little more, I like that speed,” said Roach. “He was getting in the habit of staying in the pocket a little too long. If you stay in the pocket for more than 3-4 punches you’re gonna get hit back and that’s what happened with Amir and that’s why he suffered a couple knockouts.

“Virgil Hunter, his new trainer has him holding instead of getting out of the pocket, throwing combinations and hold. He’s becoming a little bit of a boring fighter. I don’t like this style for him but that’s out of my hands at this point.”

Roach still has his own fighter whom he’d like to see meet Mayweather some day, even if many in the public have given up hope on it ever occurring.

“I hope so,” Roach said, when asked if he thought the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight would ever happen.

“I’ve had meetings with Arum and [President/CEO of CBS Corporation] Les Moonves. If everyone does what they say they’re gonna do, the fight will happen. But they all have to do their job, it’s not just Mayweather and Pacquiao. It’s the promoters and the TV people. Now you have to deal with HBO and Showtime doing a co-promotion together.

“It’s been done once before with Lennox Lewis and [Mike] Tyson so it can be done. I’m hoping everyone does their job and the fight happens. I’m a little skeptical but I hope like all you people in the world. I love challenges and that’s a challenge for me.”



Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.