Khan Looks to Become a Different Kind of Hunter
If Hunter’s words prove true, then we can expect a special performance by Khan as he seeks to reassert his status as a top pound-for-pound fighter…
There comes a time in a fighter’s career where they need to add new layers to their game and tweak their application of the sweet science. It happened to Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko as Emanuel Steward stylistically transformed these two giants into cerebral destroyers. It may happen Saturday night in Los Angeles (Showtime Sports) when Amir “King” Khan, facing Carlos Molina, and his new trainer—Virgil Hunter—attempt to tweak Khan’s fighting style in order to help him rediscover who he is as a warrior, and as a man.
While Khan has provided fans with unforgettable moments with his uncanny speed and emotional firefights, he now must become more than a heart-filled brawler, he must become a more measured tactician who knows his body and strengths more intimately.
After recent thrillers against the likes of Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, and Danny Garcia—all fights which turned into brutal brawls—the young pride of Bolton, England seeks redemption as he begins his resurrection. That resurrection begins with the realization what while he may have the heart of a lion, his physicality and athletic attributes liken him more toward a cheetah, poised to dash at astonishing speed at unseen angles of attack. In fact, that’s precisely what Virgil Hunter so brilliantly alluded to in a recent interview with Sky Sports:
“He (Khan) is a young leopard, just starting to hunt on his own. He’s got the weaponry of a leopard, the instincts and attributes of a leopard. But sometimes they’re in a hurry and think because they’re a leopard that their prey is going to stand there and be eaten. So you have to learn the terrain, practice your stealth, know when to show your head and not to show your head—and when you bite you got to know where to bite, and how hard to bite.”
Indeed, Khan will need the dexterity and intelligence of a cheetah now that every fighter—including Carlos Molina—will seek to chin-check him early to test his resolve: “Mentally, I think he’s very weak right now,” said Molina. “We’re going to jump on him to make him regret why he chose me as an opponent.”
That type of challenge would normally render a reflexive response of bravado from Khan, who has never turned away from of a brawl of will. However, this time around Khan seeks to match that will by maximizing the supremely gifted skill-set that he possesses. In effect, Team Khan is now seeking to temper his lionized heart with a more measured application of his technical gifts.
“After being defeated by Garcia, I knew I needed a change,” Khan said. “My career has been up and down. I’ve fought whoever they put in front of me, never took a step back. But now I’m changing the way I train. I’ve seen massive differences in working with Virgil.”
Indeed, training footage surfaced that would corroborate Khan’s claims.
“The most important thing is for Amir and me to bond,” stated Hunter. “I’m asking him to go to war. He’s dependent on me. If that’s the case, we should have a bond that goes beyond the gym.” Khan and Hunter have spent time together outside the gym, studying film of other fights, and just getting familiar with one other as human beings. Inside the ring, Khan is getting instruction that has been absent of late—everything from learning how to use the size of the ring more efficiently, to newfound punching angles and a more cerebral, measured psychological approach to boxing. We will see if this tutelage manifests into a more multifaceted Amir Khan. Will we see a different fighter, a fighter tactically outpointing his opponent with the stealth of a leopard, or will Khan go for the kill as soon as the first brawl breaks out?
“I think Amir Khan is on a brand new thing,” continued Hunter. “I know people think they are going to get to his chin—but time will tell. Before he even gets to the fight, he’ll be tested right here in camp. People are going to know what Amir Khan is about, and we’re going to put a lot of things to rest. Here comes the resurrection of Amir Khan.”
If Hunter’s words prove true, then we can expect a special performance by Amir “King” Khan as he seeks to reassert his status as a top pound-for-pound fighter.