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Hunter Discusses Khan Rumors, Ward-Martinez, More

By Chris Robinson

Following his disastrous TKO loss at the hands of Danny Garcia on July 14th in Las Vegas, former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan seemed to sense a change was in order for his career.

Still just 25 years old but having suffered his second consecutive defeat, Khan felt that his trainer Freddie Roach was a little too preoccupied with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to fully focus on his needs and decided to end their union earlier this month.

Reports later surfaced that Khan would be working with the respected Virgil Hunter, known best for his work with super middleweight champion Andre Ward.

I caught up with Hunter late Sunday evening to gather his thoughts on possibly working with Khan, and while the Oakland, Calif.-based coach admitted that nothing as of yet is official, he seems more than willing for the chance to hone the skills of the British star.

During our conversation, Hunter spoke on why he feels Amir is still a threat to anyone while also taking time to look at Ward’s 10th round TKO blitzing of Chad Dawson on Sep. 8, as well as Sergio Martinez’s thorough clinic of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. one week later.

This is what Hunter had to share…

Keeping in touch with Amir Khan’s side…
“That was a rumor. Nothing is really official. Nothing has come from Khan or his people or anything like that. So, until then, they are rumors. I can’t speak on it because I’m not in a position to speak on it right now. There have been conversations. But there hasn’t been an [official] statement, and I think that’s true. But I have spoken with them, of course.”

Khan’s chances of coming back...
“You know what? Amir Khan, without a doubt, is extremely talented. Of course, in my personal opinion, there are reasons why he has been in some of the predicaments that he’s been in but those predicaments are easily recognized and they are easily eliminated out of his repertoire. I think they can be eliminated quite easily. I definitely think that he has the talent and the ability to come back and I don’t think it’s as bad as some people say.”

A threat to anybody…
“People are really quick to put labels on you. I see a kid who takes a pretty damn good punch; it’s the decisions after he takes the punch that cost him. It’s part of boxing. People don’t realize that Ezzard Charles was knocked out seven times. Joe Louis was knocked out. It goes on and on. It’s not a pre-requisite to say that his career is doomed. Because, from the offensive side, Amir Khan is going to be a threat to anybody he’s in the ring with, trust me. Saying that, he’s got a great of chance to continue his career and fulfill his career just the way he envisions it.”

Andre Ward’s dissection of Chad Dawson…
“The victory was sweet. His performance, I’m not surprised by his performance. The main thing is, we never let all the criticisms and all the negative statements that came our way, we never let it affect us. We did what we were supposed to do with it. We used it as motivation. Because, as a trainer, you’ve got to know what you have. And as a boxer, you’ve got to know who you are. He and I, we both know that.”

Having the last word on Andre Ward’s career…
“I always said ‘You’re never a knockout artist until you knock out the best' and anybody can knock out B-leaguers. And Andre went to the A-leagues with 17 fights. If we kept him in the B-leagues for 25 or 26 fights, he would have been 26-0 with 22 knockouts too. But he went to the B-leagues very quick. He grew up quick and now it’s a new day. He’s mastered the art of dominating his opponents and now we make the certain adjustments and tweaks to finish the fight inside the distance. The power and speed was always there. And the instinct was always there. It’s just we had a plan for his career and we always stuck to it. We can have the last laugh on the matter. I shouldn’t say the last laugh; we intend to have the last word on it. We’re here to prove a point.”

Sergio Martinez’s mastery of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr…
“I thought it was a masterful performance. Now that I’m hearing he broke his hand in the fourth round, I can understand why he didn’t finish Chavez inside the distance. I really thought that was going to happen. Chavez took a pretty bad beating. He got complacent in the last round. I think he wanted to close the show and he got careless. The kid did show some mettle in that last round; he never did give up. You can’t take that from him. He stood there and he took it. He took it like a man and he never stopped trying. You’ve got to give him his credit. All in all it was a great fight.”

Whether he is disappointed that a fight between Ward and Martinez will likely never happen…
“Well, he knows his body. He was a junior middleweight before he went to middleweight. He went to middleweight to get the fights. He pretty much cleaned out the junior middleweight division, and those who were there, didn’t want to fight him. Sergio’s not a big man, but on the other end, I hear he walks around at 180 or 184. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. He’s a pretty muscular guy and I don’t know if he can make 168. Only he knows. But what comes out of their mouth is that they intend to go down if they can go down. And that would be the best position for them. I can’t say it disappoints me, but it is a fight I would have liked to see.”

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Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. COVERAGE
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by iseah100 on 09-24-2012

[QUOTE=Roy Jones Jnr;12547588]Yup, but that's where you have to be ring smart, and ring smart Khan aint.[/QUOTE] Very true. But that's part of what makes him so exciting.

Comment by Roy Jones Jnr on 09-24-2012

[QUOTE=iseah100;12547494]That's just the mentality of a fighter man. If you get caught you wanna get the other guy back. And the best defense is a good offense. So they say.[/QUOTE] Yup, but that's where you have to be ring smart,…

Comment by iseah100 on 09-24-2012

[QUOTE=jsfd26;12547375]This is spot on. For some reason these so called PROFESSIONAL boxers react the wrong way when they get hurt. They need to clinch, back up or take a knee. Hell take a page from Chico's book and spit that…

Comment by FrankieBruno on 09-24-2012

Hunter speaks 100% sense...

Comment by .:: JSFD26 ::. on 09-24-2012

[quote=Roy Jones Jnr] “People are really quick to put labels on you. I see a kid who takes a pretty damn good punch; it’s the decisions after he takes the punch that cost him. It’s part of boxing.'' [/quote] This…

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