By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Freddie Roach knows as much about Amir Khan’s boxing ability as anyone.
The outspoken trainer doesn’t think Khan can upset Floyd Mayweather Jr., either. But if Khan does indeed land a May 3 fight against Mayweather, Roach will be interested to see how a talented fighter he once trained fares against the best boxer in the world.
“I said in public that Amir Khan has a good style for Mayweather,” Roach said. “But I never said he was going to beat Mayweather. I don’t think he can beat Mayweather, but he can give him trouble. He’s very athletic, he’s in and out very quick.
“His problem is that he likes to stay in the pocket a little bit too long sometimes, and that usually costs him. When it costs him, he doesn’t have a great chin. And let’s face it, Mayweather can punch when he wants to. When he wants to draw you in, if you look at his fights against Ricky Hatton and a couple other guys, he can punch when he wants to.”
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs), who’ll turn 37 on Feb. 24, is expected to announce soon whether he’ll encounter England’s Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) or Argentina’s Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) on May 3 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Khan out-pointed Maidana in their 12-round WBA junior welterweight title fight three years ago in Las Vegas, but Maidana upset Adrien Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) in his last fight Dec. 14 in San Antonio to score the biggest win of his nine-year pro career.
Roach considers the heavier-handed Maidana “a little more dangerous” than Khan, yet assumes Mayweather will choose Khan for a Showtime Pay-Per-View fight Roach can’t envision generating great interest among most of the paying public.
“I think Amir can do well in the fight, but down the stretch I like Mayweather,” Roach said. “But the fight won’t do well on pay-per-view because [Khan] doesn’t have a pay-per-view audience. Amir has been knocked out too many times, Mayweather’s undefeated and Amir’s U.K. audience is very small. CBS doesn’t want to lose any more money, but they will lose money on that one.”
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.