Freddie Roach said he and Amir Khan began preparing for a fight against Zab Judah about a week ago, well in advance of the official announcement that a deal had been reached for a July 23 meeting in Las Vegas.
Now the team can go full throttle as they prepare for perhaps the biggest fight in Khan’s career, a junior welterweight title-unification clash.
“It’s a great matchup, a very exciting fight,” Roach told RingTV.com. “Judah has the reputation of fading a little bit at the end but it seems like he has his act together and he’ll get ready for Khan, of course.
“I expect a good fight.”
Roach also expects a victory for Khan, who has won seven consecutive fights since he was stopped by Breidis Prescott in 2008.
“I think we can outbox this guy,” he said. “We’ve been working for a week now on the way Zab rolls with punches, the way he emulates (Floyd) Mayweather a little bit. When he rolls, he rolls the same way every time. That’s one trick and we can beat it.
“I think we can take advantage of the mistakes he makes.”
Roach acknowledged that Judah (41-6, 28 knockouts) has power, particularly early in fights, and is somewhat leery of it.
“Yes, he has power,” he said. “And obviously some people worry about Amir’s chin. But at 140 pounds [versus 135, at which he fought Prescott] he’s more resilient. We’d be a fool to stand in front of him anyway. We’ll work angles.”
Roach also expressed some reservations about the fact that Judah is left-handed, although he’s confident his protégé can adjust.
Khan’s last opponent, Paul McCloskey, also was a southpaw but the Irishman refused to engage Khan.
“McCloskey is left-handed but he didn’t to exchange,” Roach said. “One thing about Judah, he’ll exchange. He’ll fight. He’s a good boxer who knows how to win fights. He comes to fight. McCloskey just wanted to survive.”
Roach believes a victory in a title-unification bout – Khan holds the WBA belt, Judah the IBF’s – over a well-known American opponent will broaden his fighter’s appeal in the U.S.
“I look forward to a great fight by Amir,” he said. “I think Amir is going to shine in this fight. The American fans know this fighter. It will be well watched. It will make Amir a star in America. He’s catching on.”
Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) was supposed to fight Timothy Bradley on July 23 but the fighters couldn’t reach an agreement.