by Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO light welterweight champion Amir Khan says his previous sparring sessions with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao will help him a great deal when he defends his title against veteran southpaw Zab Judah at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday.
When he learned that the fight against Judah will be telecast in the Philippines by TV 5 and Aksyon TV at 10:30 a.m. with a replay on AKTV at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Khan said “brilliant.”
In an exclusive overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Daily Inquirer, Khan who is trained by Freddie Roach with Alex Ariza handling his strength and conditioning said “we’ve had a great camp and trained very, very hard for this fight.”
Khan said he is “in condition to go the full twelve rounds” but if given a chance would “take him out in a few rounds” although he conceded that Judah was a smart fighter and a wily veteran.
Referring to his sparring with Pacquiao during the Filipino’s training camp in Manila and Baguio while he was preparing for the fight against Antonio Margarito, Khan said “I sparred with the best fighter in the world. I don’t think there is anyone in the world who can compete with Manny. I feel that was the best training as well.”
In his preparation for Judah, Khan also sparred for some two weeks with undefeated Filipino southpaw, lightweight Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta who Top Rank promoter Bob Arum predicts will be the next big name in Philippine boxing next to Pacquiao and WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire.
Khan said he will be in the Philippines to work with Pacquiao when the “Fighter of the Decade” trains for his trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12.
Ariza noted “everybody says that this is Amir’s toughest test but people forget that he’s been sparring with Manny Pacquiao for three years . You are in there with the best fighter in the world. Its going to take a little bit more than somebody coming in with a good record and with the title at stake at this point.”
Ariza said “we had a great camp for ten weeks. Amir feels real good and strong. He will just get in there and take care of business” although he conceded that Judah was “wily with a lot of experience” which included winning the WBC welterweight, WBA super world welterweight and IBF titles with a 9th round TKO over Cory Spinks on February 5, 2005.
Judah also gave Floyd Mayweather Jr a hard time in the early rounds before dropping a twelve round decision for the IBF title on April 8, 2006.