Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan: Why Brit is confident he can shock unbeaten American

Declan Warrington
The Independent

Amir Khan believes his trainer Virgil Hunter holds the key to his hopes of securing victory in what could prove his defining fight against Terence Crawford.

The 32-year-old challenges WBO welterweight champion Crawford at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.

American Crawford is at the peak of his powers, to the extent that alongside Vasyl Lomachenko he is considered one of the two finest fighters in the world.

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Hunter oversaw Khan's most convincing, disciplined performances when, after successive defeats, the Brit joined him and excelled in overcoming Luis Collazo, Chris Algieri and Devon Alexander.

But Hunter's ill health meant Khan was then being trained by Joe Goosen until the Crawford fight was signed.

Khan's victories over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas under Goosen heavily featured the vulnerabilities that contributed to his four defeats, with the unremarkable Vargas almost ending his career, but with the respected Hunter back in his corner he is confident the discipline he requires will return.

"Look at my last performances," he said. "My last maybe wasn't the best, a change of trainer does that.

"That's no disrespect to Joe Goosen who's an amazing coach, but sometimes when you change trainer and your style a little it's too soon to have a good performance.

"With Virgil, we've been together for over six years so he brings out the best in me.

"I trust in him and I respect him. The skills come from that respect, and listening to him and not making mistakes.

"It's great to be back in camp with Virgil. We work very hard, he's back healthy and I'm back doing what I love doing. Training hard, being pushed. He's arranged everything to take that pressure off me, the sparring, everything.

Crawford and Khan go toe to toe in New York (Action Images via Reuters)
Crawford and Khan go toe to toe in New York (Action Images via Reuters)

"It's being smart, boxing (Crawford). I'm the better boxer. It's being smart, boxing, being careful and not making mistakes and sticking to the game-plan throughout the fight.

"I've got the speed, power and size over him, and the experience as well, fighting the better class of opponents. I've got everything on my side going into this fight, he's just got the title."

Crawford's trainer Brian McIntyre insisted this week that not even Hunter believes Khan is capable of victory.

Hunter had required persuading that Khan should previously accept the dangerous fight he lost to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, yet with Crawford was happy at the level of risk.

"It'll be a big help to have Virgil in the corner, especially in the difficult moments that might happen in the fight," Khan said.

"I trust that he can maybe help me not have those difficult moments, and what I should change, he knows me better than any other trainer.

"He's been a lot more confident (than he was against Alvarez), a lot more confident. He's been a lot calmer, that I'm not giving that weight away, and that I'm ready."

:: Amir Khan fights Terence Crawford live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday 20th April. For more information http://www.bt.com/btsportboxoffice

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