Freddie Roach (L) said his Parkinson's had no impact upon his training of Amir Khan (AP)Amir Khan has a history of finding someone to blame after he loses a fight. When he was beaten by Lamont Peterson in December, Khan fingered referee Joe Cooper and the three judges before settling on the so-called "Mystery Man," Mustafa Ameen.
Khan and his team ignored the fact they'd competed in a compelling fight that was very close and which could have gone either way. Could Khan have been declared the winner in that fight? Absolutely. But was it an outrageous injustice that Peterson won it? Absolutely not.
Khan returned to the ring on July 14 in Las Vegas, but it didn't turn out as he planned. Angered by pre-fight taunts from trainer Angel Garcia, Khan fought the wrong style and was knocked out by Danny Garcia in the fourth round.
Instead of accepting the blame for that, on Tuesday, he found another culprit: Trainer Freddie Roach. At a news conference to announce his Dec. 15 match in Los Angeles with Carlos Molina, Khan told reporters that he replaced Roach with Virgil Hunter as his trainer after the Garcia loss because Roach's Parkinson's disease was impacting his ability to coach.
It's hard to see him older and getting worse. I wish him the best. Freddie, with the Parkinson's disease, he was struggling with instructions and couldn't move as well.
Roach has battled Parkinson's for years. He is plagued by tremors, but he's been named Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America five times. He's won it in three of the last four years and in four of the last six.
Roach angrily disputed Khan's contention and said he, not Hunter, would still be training Khan had he agreed to walk away from several of his other fighters.
Khan had followed Roach around the world to train and, not unreasonably, wanted a trainer who would give him 100 percent of his attention. Because of his success, Roach is one of the world's most-sought trainers. He said he understood Khan's decision to leave, but insisted it had nothing to do with his Parkinson's.
If that was true, why would he say to me, 'Fire Manny Pacquiao and Chavez Jr.', and they'll keep me? Him, his father, his lawyer and his uncle all said that. It had nothing to do with Parkinson's. Parkinson's had nothing to do with it. They know that. And I wish them the best of luck.
Khan is a skilled fighter who will do well under Hunter. He's also at a point in his career where he needs to work with someone who will give him his undivided attention and help bring out his many skills. If he loses to Molina, he'll be all but done as a big-time attraction.
Hunter is a terrific teacher who, given a chance, will help Khan fix his defensive leaks. It was an astute move by whomever in Team Khan fingered Hunter. It was Hunter who ended Roach's three-year Trainer of the Year reign when he won the award in 2011 after guiding Andre Ward to the Super Six World Boxing Classic championship.
For Khan to blame Roach for his problems is decidedly low brow. Roach remains the top teacher in boxing and should be lauded for overcoming the challenges his disease presents. None of the other fighters who have or still do work with him, including Pacquiao, have said Roach's Parkinson's has had any negative impact upon his ability.
Khan was within his rights to part ways with Roach, but it was a cheap shot to bring up the Parkinson's. That he felt compelled to do so says a lot more about Amir Khan than it does about Freddie Roach.
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