By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN has vowed to use his brain and not his balls as he fights to save his career from ruin.
The Bolton boxer has suffered back-to-back losses and feared he would be a laughing stock after being KO’d in four rounds by Yank Danny Garcia in July.
Last December, Khan lost both his WBA and IBF world light-welterweight titles on a controversial points defeat to Lamont Peterson, who then tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs.
And Khan, 25, admits that trying to be a brawler instead of a boxer has got him into trouble as he tried to be too macho.
But Amir, who shot to fame by winning a silver medal aged just 17 at the 2004 Olympics, hopes to get his career back on track in a 12-round bout against American Carlos Molina in LA on December 15. As well as a new cautious approach, Khan says he will improve under new trainer Virgil Hunter by now becoming a student of opponents and with the use of ferocious sparring.
He said: “I’ve got to do what’s best for me and it’s about being more focused. When you want to go for the finish, you have to take a step back and take it easy – but I’ve never done that.
“By using my brains, though, I will definitely come back and be a world champion. The reason I was successful in the Olympics was because I knew the guys I was facing were physically stronger than me and at the time I was just a boy.
“So I never got involved. I just stuck to my jab but now because I’ve knocked a few opponents out and had a few knockdowns I think I can stand and trade with these guys. I’m a man now but maybe I’ve made a mistake thinking that.
“I think I’ll still be entertaining with classy boxing, good hand speed and clever combinations. I will still be exciting but boxing more cautiously.
“I need to start watching tapes and not having wars in sparring. The reason I was all over the place and throwing those long looping shots against Garcia was because I was having wars in sparring which wasn’t right for me.
“I shouldn’t have had those wars. If I was sticking to my instructions in sparring by boxing clever I wouldn’t have had those problems against Garcia. Whatever I do in sparring I do in the fight.
“It could have affected how long I fight for but I jumped on it and then changed trainers. The last three fights have been wars.
“I’ve had raw Russian amateurs to spar with and at times you try to be big balls and put them in their place by putting them down.
“I did exactly what I did in sparring in the fight and I was being too ballsy. I need to forget about being ballsy in fights now.”
Khan blamed sacked coach Freddie Roach for a lack of guidance but believes Hunter will get him more prepared.
He said: “I could have made the Garcia fight so easy by staying back and hitting him with the long jab and not getting involved but for some reason I wasn’t told or taught he was going to throw big left hooks. From now on Virgil Hunter has said to me, ‘I want you to watch tapes’, which makes sense.”