By Keith Idec
Amir Khan understands what it’s like to be the favored fighter who loses by knockout.
That’s among the reasons Khan felt for Manny Pacquiao when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Pacquiao unconscious with one punch Saturday night in Las Vegas. The former WBA super lightweight champion also emphasized, as he prepares for his fight against Carlos Molina on Saturday night in Los Angeles (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET), that he doesn’t blame the strategy designed by his former trainer, Freddie Roach, for his ex-sparring partner’s devastating defeat.
“Manny Pacquiao’s a great friend, a good friend of mine,” Khan said. “We worked together, boxed each other a long time. And also, Freddie is a great trainer. You know, it’s a shame to see a friend get beat. It just shows that’s boxing for you.
“In boxing, one punch can change a fight, no matter who you are. Manny is such a great fighter. Going into this fight I believe he was favored to win the fight, but one punch can change a fight. That’s boxing for you. We’ve been training very hard because we’ve been in that position, where we were beating Danny Garcia and we got caught with a shot. That’s boxing for you.”
Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) fired Roach following his fourth-round technical knockout defeat to Philadelphia’s Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) on July 14 in Las Vegas. The British boxer has since stated that Roach didn’t concentrate enough on defense while working with him, but he declined to criticize Roach when a reporter repeatedly asked him on the aforementioned conference call if his famous former trainer made mistakes Saturday night that directly led to Pacquiao’s loss.
“It’s hard to point fingers and say, you know, it’s Freddie’s fault or it’s Manny’s fault,” Khan said. “You can’t really say anything. At the end of the day, look, he was winning the fight. It was so exciting with great fighters in there like Marquez and Pacquiao … one punch can change the fight because they are very experienced. So you can’t really blame no trainer or anyone. It was just that Marquez was very clever and very smart, and he hit Manny Pacquiao with a good, clean shot.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.