MANILA, Philippines – Amir Khan is adamant that his performance against Lamont Peterson last December was not a true representation of his abilities, and that a better training camp in the Philippines will produce a different result in their rematch on May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Khan, 25, is currently in the Philippines, working out with conditioning coach Alex Ariza in Manila before heading up to Baguio, where he will train at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level. Head trainer Freddie Roach is expected to arrive in the next few weeks, where he will prepare both Khan and THE RING’s pound for pound No. 1 fighter Manny Pacquiao – who faces Timothy Bradley on June 6 – for their respective bouts.
“The reason I come here is because Manny trains here for his fight, Freddie has to be where Manny is and I go wherever Freddie goes,” said Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) on Sunday night at the 12th annual Elorde Awards Banquet at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila, which honors the Philippines’ top boxing personalities every year on the birthday of boxing legend Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
“Also, it’s good because I get away from all of the distractions and focus on training camp here. It’s high altitude training and it’s about building a fan base and letting the fans get a chance to see you train and fight. Since I’ve been training here with Manny, the TV stations here have been showing my fights in the Philippines as well so it’s about building your fan base.”
Khan, who lost his WBA and IBF 140-pound titles to Peterson in his most recent match in Peterson’s hometown of Washington, D.C., acknowledged that he expects another tough fight against Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), but he believes that having the bout in a neutral setting will make for a different fight the second time around.
“Lamont Peterson is going to be a tough fight no matter what because we know Lamont Peterson is a good fighter,” said Khan, who is from Bolton, Lancashire, United Kingdom. “I’m going to train like a challenger, like I always train. I have to train a little bit harder because I know things can go wrong. The first time the tallies (for pushing) were taken from me. I believe I won the fight but I didn’t get it. The fight’s not gonna be in DC… so I’m going to win fair and square and bring the title back to the UK. I’m going to do it for my UK fans, my UK people and I’m going to prove who the better fighter is on that night.
“I mean, I’m not taking nothing away from Lamont, he’s a good fighter but I just think you didn’t see the best of Amir Khan on that night.”
Khan took time out to acknowledge his friend Fabrice Muamba, the star midfielder for the Premier League football team the Bolton Wanderers football team who collapsed on the football pitch on March 17 after suffering a heart attack in a match against rivals Tottenham. Muamba is currently recovering in the hospital, but is still in intensive care according to the Daily Mirror.
“Fabrice Muamba is a good friend of mine, I was with him a couple of weeks ago in Manchester,” said Khan. “I’ve been traveling a lot so I will be speaking to him on the phone in the next couple of days but I heard he’s getting better now. He’s loved by all of Bolton, as well of all of England. He’s such a nice guy, only 23 years old and it’s a shame that happened to him on the football pitch. I hope he comes back stronger and all of our prayers are with him. After speaking to my manager (Asif Vali) in Bolton, he said he’s coming back stronger and getting back to normal.”
Khan, who says that he won’t be sparring with Pacquiao for this camp, started camp early so he could spend less time getting in shape and more time working on a game plan.
“We know what to do, we know how to win this fight and I can promise you – put your house on it, whatever – we will win this fight,” said Khan.
Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.