Amir Khan will hold showdown talks with trainer Virgil Hunter after admitting he felt “flat” and “over-trained” throughout his unconvincing victory over Chris Algieri last weekend.
The Bolton boxer was an easy winner on the scorecards in New York, but far from impressed with his display, which was seen as a final chance to impress pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather ahead of a possible September date.
Khan, who has won all five of his fights under no-nonsense disciplinarian Hunter, broke ranks by confessing the training methods may not be producing the desired results, and now needs to be “his own boss”.
“We need to sit down together. I was flat in that ring and the first half of the fight was tougher for me than it should have been. I will ask Virgil his opinion as to why I did not have my usual speed, power, strength and snap,” Khan said.
“But in part I must become my own boss now. Virgil is a great trainer and will be in my corner next time. But I know myself and my body better than anyone, and it is my take on it which will decide where we go from here.
“I’m a very hard-working boxer, but sometimes you can over-train. I was in camp for 14 weeks and sparred over 160 rounds, many of them in 12-round championship sessions. I left too much in the gym.”
Despite the 117-110, 117-110, 115-113 win over home-town favourite Algieri, Khan’s usual all-action style was missing for long periods, prompting the 29-year-old former two-weight world champion to question the direction of his future camps.
He will meet Hunter after the American has helped mastermind Andre Ward’s return to the ring against Paul Smith this month. And while there is no suggestion of the two parting ways any time soon, Khan has shown in the past he isn’t afraid to make big decisions.
First he sacked Jorge Rubio to link up with Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach after his first career defeat to Bredis Prescott in 2008. Then Khan split with Roach after back-to-back losses to Lamon Peterson and Danny Garcia four years later to join Hunter’s stable.
“I need to go back to being the old Amir Khan,” he said. “All my career I’ve trusted my trainers and done everything they ask. But it’s time to remember it was my free-flowing ability which got me to two world titles and to the brink of a super-fight with Mayweather.
“Virgil has added things to my boxing and can continue to do so, but I have to be myself. Virgil taught Andre Ward very well over many years but I am not the same fighter. What works for him doesn’t necessarily work for me. I must make the most of my own talents.”
Khan also wouldn’t have been pleased with Hunter’s view that beating Mayweather, unbeaten in 48 bouts, would be one of the biggest shocks of all time. “He will have to be diligent and fight like a young pup, like Buster Douglas did against (Mike) Tyson – you need to take it to another level,” he commented.
“His IQ will never match Floyd. The years of repetition of doing the same thing – his body and mind just know what to do.” Hunter did add though: “He (Khan) has the attributes to take it to that level. If he can handle the pressure for a fight of that magnitude, I am confident he will give a good account of himself.”
Even if the Mayweather clash fails to materialise, Khan is not short of options, with Kell Brook, Adrien Broner or rematches with Garcia or Peterson on the cards.
Khan, however, may have to get a move on to secure a domestic clash with IBF welterweight title-holder Brook, who said he is “bored” of the continued breakdown in talks. Khan has repeatedly turned down a £3.3m offer for a autumn Millennium Stadium dust-up.
“He must be scared,” Brook said after stopping Frankie Gavin last Saturday (30). “Why not fight a serious person in an open-air arena with a belt on the line? Why would he not do it? It’s frustrating.
“I’ve been banging on about it for years now. When I won this belt, I thought it would happen, but he still won’t pick up the phone. It’s getting boring now.”