It is a common occurrence for a fighter to say he is not even considering defeat and that their only option is to win, but coming from Amir Khan that is something that simply could not be truer.
Life could scarcely be more different for the former world champion from where it was exactly a year ago. Last December, Khan was entering a title defence against America's Lamont Peterson as the IBF and WBA light welterweight champion and as the firm favourite. Now he hasn't a belt to his name and two more defeats on his record - both unexpected defeats at that - and instead of talk of unifying the 10 stone division and facing Floyd Mayweather Jr, he is meeting the unheralded Carlos Molina in a non-title fight on December 15 where only one outcome is an option: victory.
Since the second of those defeats, a fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia in July, Khan has switched trainers from the illustrious Freddie Roach to Virgil Hunter, the trainer of Andre Ward during his so far perfect professional career, and had to dismiss talk of what would have been a premature retirement, but he is now adamant that even though the pressure is on he will finally be relaxed when fight night comes in the ring.
"It has been a good camp, I have been working on new things and I feel a difference already. [Molina] has never tasted defeat before," said Khan.
"In his home state [California] there will be a lot of his fans there. It will be a good fight. That's the type of fighter I am. I will fight anyone anywhere.
"I have been working on new techniques, working on defence and offence as well.
"You will see me a lot more relaxed, a lot more of a thinking Amir Khan, I am looking forward to it and I can't wait to get into that ring.
"I always train for a fighter at his best. I am taking him seriously.
"I am relaxing. I have to be sensible, I have been working on that a lot, thinking more. By thinking more I will be giving a masterclass to my opponent, I will be picking the right shots. I have made mistakes but I will do that no more. You will see a difference.
"Virgil has been doing everything. The fitness is in the boxing. I have been doing the hills and the long runs and the circuits in the gym.
"We can't afford to lose, it is a big fight for me and the team. I want to come back with a win. I have never thought about losing this fight."
Before his loss to Garcia, Khan had dropped a split decision defeat to Peterson. That the American then tested positive for a synthetic testosterone was only one controversy in several that later emerged surrounding that fight that significantly lessened the severity of the defeat, but Khan is regardless not keen to take any further unnecessary risks. "We have asked for neutral judge and referees and that is hopefully what we will get," he said.
"[Molina] is a good fighter, he has fought some of the top guys in the division but maybe he is not getting the credit he deserves. But when you fight an undefeated fighter it is dangerous, because he might be thinking my confidence is damaged, but he is wrong."Reuse content