Since way back in July 2011, when he stopped Zab Judah in the fifth round of their IBF/WBA junior welterweight unification bout, Amir Khan said that he has been physically draining himself to make 140 pounds.
"It was kind a few years ago that I decided to move up to 147 pounds, because I was having trouble making weight for the 140-pound division. That was after the Judah fight," said Khan, who already had been training with the intention of rising in weight.
"But it was never easy for me to make 140. When you cut down and you kill yourself by cutting down to that 140 division, it used to make me really weak, and I couldn't hold the energy. The power wasn't there. I used to walk into the fights feeling very weak."
After defeating Judah, Khan lost his next fight by disputed split-decision to current IBF 140-pound beltholder Lamont Peterson, and was stopped in the fourth round of his next bout by RING, WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
Khan left trainer Freddie Roach in favor of Virgil Hunter for his next two fights, resulting in a 10th-round knockout over Carlos Molina (a California-based lightweight prospect not to be confused with the IBF junior middleweight titleholder of the same name) in December of 2012 and a unanimous decision over former titleholder Julio Diaz, who dropped him in the fourth round last April.
But the 27-year-old Khan vows to be a more effective, if not more powerful fighter when he makes his 147-pound debut against ex-titleholder Luis Collazo on May 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Collazo, who turns 33 next month, knocked out Victor Ortiz in January and then called out Khan.
"Even if I had to make 140 now, I could still do it, but I really believe that I will be a better fighter at 147, and that I will be stronger and that I'll keep a lot more energy and strength and power on my shots," said Khan, 27.
"I've got a big body, and I'm a tall fighter. It was always hard, but I would still make it. But I can feel a real difference in my fighting style when I spar. When we spar, I've felt so much stronger, even though I've been sparring with guys that are a lot heavier than me."
QUESTIONS BOUT KHAN'S CHIN
In addition to his loss to Garcia, and the fact that he was dropped and badly hurt by Diaz, Khan has endured lingering questions about his chin as a result of a first-round KO loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008.
"Of course people are going to comment on Amir's ability to take a punch and things like that, but I have my own theories about that and I don't see that being a factor anymore as he has moved up in weight," said Hunter during an earlier interview with RingTV.com.
"Amir has begun to understand why he's gotten hit with punches that he doesn't see. That's not going to be an issue at all. Plus, we have time to have an organized camp and we can take time to work on some things, so there's no doubt in my mind that he can win the fight."
Khan said that Hunter's teachings have begun to sink in.
"I'm learning a lot about being patient and about picking the right shots at the right time. I've always been an exciting fighter, and I think that's always going to be there, but we're working on new things, like making sure that my hands are in the right position, and we don't have our defense low, and that we have high defense," said Khan.
"We've got great sparring partners helping with that to kind of keep me sharp. We're working on the mistakes that I used to make. I used to take silly shots, and I used to jump into shots, which, I believe, makes them twice as hard when you do get hit when you jump into a shot. [Virgil is] teaching me how to use my defense and my offense at the right times and making me understand the sport better."
Khan's resume includes unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana, who will challenge for Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s RING and WBC 147-pound belts in the main event on May 3, as well as a technical-decision victory over Mexican great Marcos Antonio Barrera. Khan scored knockouts over Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, and decisioned Andriy Kotelnik. Khan earned major 140-pound belts by beating Kotelnik and Judah.
KHAN READY TO MOVE BEYOND MAYWEATHER 'DISAPPOINTMENT'
On Feb. 24, his 37th birthday, Mayweather announced that he will fight Maidana, choosing the power-punching Argentine over Khan.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) made the decision known on his verified Twitter account, naming Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) after the Argentine had won the WBA welterweight title by outpointing Adrien Broner in December.
But during Wednesday's conference call, Khan said that he has moved beyond thoughts of facing Mayweather and that, for now, he is focused on Collazo.
"That was a disappointment, but, like I said, it was a mental thing and I've gotten over it. I was upset, but listen, I've gotten it sorted out. Luis Collazo is going to give 100 percent in there, so all of my focus is on that fight now. What happened in the past, I've just let it go, and I'm just focused on this next fight, now," said Khan.
"I'm a mentally strong fighter, and I've proven that in the way that I've come back from my defeats in ways that not a lot of fighters could come back. Moving up in weight I believe that I'm a better fighter, and Luis Collazo is one of the best fighters out there. He proved that by knocking out Victor Ortiz in his last fight and proving himself. I won't be killing myself making [weight] anymore, so I'm going into this fight very healthy and very happy."