RingTV.com caught up to five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach to discuss Saturday night’s HBO-televised fourth-round stoppage of former titleholder Amir Khan by Danny Garcia, whose victory added Khan’s WBA junior welterweight belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
The loss was the second in a row for Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts), whose eight-fight winning streak that included four knockouts under Roach was ended with December’s controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson.
Roach spoke to RingTV.com about the future of his relationship with Khan, who has been with Roach for his past 10 fights. Roach denied that Khan has specifically expressed the desire to end their association, contrary to reports.
During that time, Khan won his first eight bouts but lost his past two, having been resurrected under Roach following a 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in Sept. of 2008.
Khan also shares Roach with eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao and WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., whose respective training regimens took place in preparation for title bouts they participated in last month.
First into the ring was Pacquiao, who dropped a controversial split-decision to then-WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley that dethroned him as WBO welterweight beltholder on June 9. A week later on June 16, Chavez Jr. scored an impressive seventh-round knockout victory over southpaw challenger Andy Lee.
Chavez Jr. will be back in the ring on Sept. 15 for a defense against RING champion Sergio Martinez. Pacquiao has a targeted return date of Nov. 10, perhaps against Bradley or for a fourth bout opposite Juan Manuel Marquez, with whom Pacquiao has battled through a draw, as well as split- and majority decision victories, respectively.
Roach said that he expects Khan to return to the ring in December, adding that he would like to get a rematch with Garcia. Roach also said that he recently met with Khan and the fighter’s father, Shah Khan, regarding how to navigate the time spent working with Chavez Jr., Pacquiao and Khan in the future.
Freddie Roach on his conversation with Amir and Shah Khan:
“I spoke with Amir and his dad yesterday, and the idea of changing trainers never came up. I told them that if they think that I’m too busy, and ‘if you need help getting somebody else, then I’ll help you.’
“They said, ‘no, no, everything’s fine.’ They said ‘we just need to just maybe we want to get better sparring partners.’
“So I had a very nice breakfast with Shah Khan and Amir. So we had a nice meeting yesterday, and no one talked about getting fired.”
On how the cancelation of the Peterson fight affected Khan’s training:
“I spent a lot of time with Amir in the Philippines with Manny, but then, his rematch with Lamont Peterson got canceled. We sent him home for three weeks so he wouldn’t burn out.
“And then, we got the offer to fight Garcia, and they accepted the fight. I had the time and I worked with him every day. I missed four days being with Chavez.
“So they asked me– they said they didn’t want that to ever happen again. I said, ‘if you think I’m doing too much, then, for the next fight, we’ll do the best that we can with scheduling.’
“I mean, yes, I did have to leave Amir’s training camp for four days to be with Chavez, but I don’t think that that was the difference in the fight.”
On when Khan would fight again, and, also, the juggling of his schedule with Chavez Jr. and Pacquiao:
“We worked that out. We talked about fighting again in December. So I was open to December because I have Chavez in September and Pacquiao in November.
“We figured that we could come back in December and that would work out fine. They want to fight in December so that there won’t be any interference with anybody else.”
On the notion that Khan has trouble making the junior welterweight limit:
“It’s kind of funny that I read it somewhere that he had trouble making 140, when he made 140 four days before the fight. Easily. Just on a nice diet where he was eating three meals a day.
“If you weren’t there, how can you make that statement is what I want to put out there. If these people are making statements, how can they do that when they weren’t even there?”
On the first knockdown by Garcia and the rest of the action in the fight:
“It’s just a situation where Amir got caught. He made a mistake and he got caught by a left hook. He went out there a little too early and he got caught. We had planned to out-box this guy.
“But then Amir started to exchange with him. That’s when he got caught pulling away. He had his hand down. That’s something that we worked on during the fight, but it happens. This happens in boxing.”
“I think that Garcia’s dad got under Amir’s skin a little bit. He got a little emotional about it. I think that the father really got to him.
“By going after his religion and his [being Pakistani,] the father got under his skin and he didn’t fight a smart fight. The first two rounds, he did very well. But we talked about not getting upset.”
On the potential for a rematch:
“If we get a rematch, we will out-box him. I would like the rematch right away. There’s no sense even thinking about 147 until we show that we can beat this guy at 140.”
On Khan’s defense:
“We discussed how his hands need to be up more, and how he has to work on his defense a lot more, and not standing up straight as he pulls away from punches.
“Pulling straight back. He’s got to stop dropping his right hand, and so, we’ve got to work on his defense a little bit.”
On Khan’s future:
“We had a very good discussion about this. The thing is, with the caliber of fights that he’s had, Amir needs to stop making mistakes. He’s got to stop rushing in there and fighting with emotion.
“He’s got to be more professional about it. We talked about that, and everyone was on the same page when I left Amir yesterday.”
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com