WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan has hailed trainer Freddie Roach's impact on his boxing development ahead of Saturday's eagerly-awaited clash with Zab Judah in Las Vegas.
Khan first entered Roach's acclaimed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles with his fledgling career in crisis following a shock first-round defeat to Colombian knockout specialist Breidis Prescott in September 2008.
However, that loss remains the solitary blemish on Khan's 26-fight professional career, with the 24-year-old enjoying a seven-bout winning streak alongside Hall of Fame trainer Roach, beating the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Paul Malignaggi and Marcos Maidana.
"With Freddie it's all about being focused, training hard, using my brains going into a fight and sticking to a game plan," Khan told Press Association Sport.
"He just wants you to do everything right without risking stuff. Sometimes you have to take a risk in a fight, but if you don't need to, don't do it.
"The thing about me is I've got speed, power and movement, and experience is coming now so I don't have to make mistakes.
"I can just go in there and win fights instead of getting stuck in and getting in a tear-up."
That approach is a far cry from the one which saw the Bolton youngster sent to the canvas by unheralded duo Willie Limond and Michael Gomez in the year leading up to the Prescott defeat.
"Boxing is an art and if I can use my skills to win fights and make it easier then I'll do that," Khan added.
"Some fighters take a lot of shots and a lot of punishment, but I think I've got a style where I can make it a lot easier by sticking to my skills.
"That's made me a better fighter and Freddie has brought that out."
The reward for such progress is a unification showdown with 33-year-old IBF king Judah at the Mandalay Bay Resort, although many in the sport expected to see Khan paired off against another American.
Californian Timothy Bradley currently holds the WBC and WBO versions of the 140lb title and is widely considered to be the light-welterweight division's leading light alongside Khan.
But the 2004 Olympic silver medallist was left disappointed when the match failed to materialise, despite claims of a lucrative financial offer for Bradley to make it happen.
"We offered him 50 per cent of the UK revenue which is unheard of," Khan said. "Normally 100 per cent is kept by me. It's 100 per cent for me against Judah.
"Bradley was going to make a lot of money. It was going to be his biggest payday in his boxing career and he didn't take it. That's his loss."
As such, Khan is now openly sceptical of his rival's credentials.
"I think he was just scared of losing because he knew that if he loses the titles then he's a nobody," he said.
"Nobody wants to know him. He's not a big ticket-seller or a big name. He just has the two major titles.
"I think everyone knows that he backed out from the challenge and he has lost a lot of respect."
Nevertheless, Khan is confident that an impressive win over slick New York southpaw Judah can establish him as his division's premier talent ahead of a possible move up to welterweight in 2012.
"I'm sure now that the IBF title will put me up there in the number one position," he added.
Tags: Timothy Bradley , Amir Khan , Khan-Bradley , Khan vs Bradley