Khan can but training arrangement must change
If, as is being claimed, Amir Khan actually underestimated Danny Garcia before their WBA and WBA light-welterweight battle in Las Vegas on Saturday night, the former Olympic silver medalist is a moron of epic proportions.
However, before judging him on it, don’t forget the Briton refused TV cameras entry to his dressing room before the fight and, whilst appearances can deceive, looked the picture of focus during the minutes before the fight started.
In fact, once the action got going and up until the fight defining punch in the third round, he had appeared in a different league to Garcia- these were not tell-tale signs of a man underestimating his foe.
However, even if the 25-year-old took Garcia seriously, at least in his own mind, there are at still a number of long-standing problems to address.
I have long been of the opinion that the Khan-Pacquiao-Roach training stable is not workable in the long-term and I believe it is time for the Briton to take a stand. He must either become to sole focus of Roach- a man seemingly weakened every passing month by his Parkinson’s disease- or move on elsewhere.
I don’t believe that Khan could get into better physical shape for these sorts of battles but his discipline and focus in terms of sticking to a blueprint is becoming a real problem.
He was fortunate to avoid being knocked out by Marcos Maidana in the tenth round of their 2010 contest- despite being well ahead on the cards- and he was headstrong in continually pushing Lamont Peterson, despite being warned repeatedly, and well deserved his points deductions.
Did he, like his stablemate Pacquiao, take his foot off the accelerator after seeing the ease with which he was dealing with the opponent in front of him?
At least the eight-weight world champion Pacquiao waited until the second half of the fight to take a breather- Khan’s apparent arrogance or lack of focus so early in the fight was staggering.
I don’t know if Roach is unable to get lucid instructions across to Khan during the break between rounds- could the Briton hear his trainer’s gentle, disrupted speech over the raucous Mandalay Bay crowd as he attempted to recover before the start of the fourth round on Saturday?
Either way, Khan only seemed willing to gamble at a time when he needed to conserve energy and brain function to try and forge a way back into the fight. He waded into another reckless attack in the closing minute of the round and Garcia, gleefully, ended the contest.
Such indiscipline is criminal.
Carl Froch, Britain’s IBF super middleweight champion, was a little cheeky when suggesting that Khan might consider hanging up his gloves after a second consecutive defeat, but much of what the Nottingham-born said was valid- the road back to the top is not one that Khan is likely to enjoy or find particularly easy.
Does this trail back start with a fight against Sheffield’s undefeated Kell Brook? Probably not. I cannot see Khan accepting a move up in weight to take on another undefeated foe in his first fight at a new weight. I’m sure it’s a fight that will be offered in the weeks ahead but, despite his ego, Khan would be crazy to accept it.
What really concerned me was that the Garcia punch that caused all of the damage was not one that caught Khan flush. His shoulder took a heavy chunk of the blow and, in the past, we’ve seen Khan absorb those hits and barely blink- remember some of the hits he took against Maidana and Peterson over the last two years?
Some great champions have been knocked out by supposed lesser fighters and recovered- the mind drifts to Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Leiws in particular- but it is clear that Khan cannot afford another defeat of this nature.
However, Khan’s headstrong approach to fighting inside the ring is the first thing that must change. It is all well and good training like a Spartan but if you aren’t able to execute even the most basic of game plans you will struggle to have a future in the sport.
At Boxing Fancast we just can’t get enough of Angel Garcia. Our correspondent Iceman filmed this footage of the maverick trainer in Las Vegas over the weekend.