Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan: Brit reveals the one big change to his training camp ahead of title fight

Khan's wife, Faryal Makhdoom, has assumed the role of camp manager for her husband's California preparation over the last few months

Declan Taylor
New York
Thursday 18 April 2019 23:13
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Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan preview

Should Amir Khan send a shockwave through world boxing by beating Terence Crawford in Manhattan on Saturday night, the Bolton man will have more to thank his wife Faryal Makhdoom for than usual.

However, after assuming the role of camp manager for her husband's California preparation over the last few months, Khan says his wife is ready to walk out on him just as quickly as she took the job in the first place.

“I've got to take my hat off to her,” said Khan from a room deep inside Madison Square Garden. “She did everything, man.

“It's the first time and she made sure she did everything right. She's managed everything. Without her it would have been very difficult."

With a three-weight world champion and arguably the planet's best boxer in Crawford waiting for him on Saturday night, it might seem like a strange time for Khan, 32, to make such a drastic change inside his team.

But he says despite a smooth camp at his trainer Virgil Hunter's gym in the Bay Area of San Francisco, Makhdoom will not be taking the reins again regardless of the result at the Garden on Saturday.

The couple had their youngest daughter Alayna with them but their eldest, Lamaisah, remained back in Bolton and went to school as usual.

"Because it was such a strain, she said it would be her first and last camp,” Khan said with a wry smile. “We left our little girl at home and she said she can't do that again because it was so hard.

"If she didn't have school, she would have been with us.

“She's here now though. I saw her for the first time after three months and I couldn't believe she has grown so tall and she is speaking to me in full sentences.

"She was on the plane telling everyone that her daddy is going to punch the other guy in the face. I told her not to be saying that because people will think I'm some kind of crazy nutter.

“Normally I don't like my wife around when I'm training, but I'm glad I had her in camp with me and my little girl too.”

Although he may not care to admit it, Saturday night might just represent Khan's last chance to win a world title again having previously held the IBF and WBA light-welterweight belts.

Amir Khan and his wife, Faryal Makhdoom

Bookmakers here in the Big Apple, or in fact anywhere, don't give Khan much hope of taking the WBO welterweight title from the man currently vying with Vasyl Lomachenko for the No.1 spot in the pound-for-pound picture.

But Crawford's outspoken trainer Brian McIntyre, affectionately known as BoMac, insists there is no chance that his brilliant charge will betaking anything for granted.

Indeed, so seriously have they taken the challenge of Khan, that they conducted some of their preparation at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

"We wanted to work on his hand-eye co-ordination because Khan's got fast hands,” said BoMac. “We just wanted to make him a little bit more aware.

Brian McIntyre

“The drill is little lights come on and he has to follow the lights, stuff they do for the pilots. We've never done anything like that to prepare for previous opponents and I've already seen the improvements from it.”

But although nobody inside Team Crawford appears to be overlooking their English opponent, McIntyre was emphatic when asked to predict how Saturday night might end.

"You ask me and I say Terence is going to beat the shit out of Amir Khan,” he said.

"But if you listen to Virgil's interview, he's not even confident for Amir Khan. Am I right or wrong? Just listen to him. He was asked what does Amir Khan need to win and he said 'prayer and luck'.

The Brit is a huge underdog

"I remember Amir Khan when he won the silver medal and then when he came over here to fight. I started paying attention to him when he started beating Zab Judah and Devon Alexander.

"I thought 'this dude is pretty good'. I looked at his hand speed and it was way, way off the radar. But he's not the same nowadays. He's just slower and he fights more kind of scared because he's scared to get touched on his chin.”

McIntyre is making reference to the three crushing inside-distance defeats that Khan has suffered during his 14 years as a professional.

Khan was working under Freddie Roach back in 2012 when he had made a bright start against Danny Garcia before he was stopped in brutal fashion with 32 seconds left to go in the fourth round.

Terence Crawford is undefeated in 34 professional fights

Roach is in town this week as one of his fighters, Christopher Diaz, is in action on the undercard but he will be keeping a close eye on the main event too.

However, the fabled trainer does not believe Khan has managed to solve any of his old problems.

“Overall I think he's an underachiever because every time he's been knocked out is when he was beating a guy, went for a knockout and ended up getting caught himself,” said Roach.

“He's stuck in that old 20-point rule where in the amateurs if you went 20 points in front you automatically won. I think that's stuck in his brain.

“I always used to say to him that he has to get rid of that – you've got 12 rounds in front of you. That's not a good way to head into a fight, thinking you want to get 20 points in front as quickly as possible. That's when you open up on a guy, throw a flurry and get caught in the middle of it.

“If you have a bad chin and you know that – protect it. He needs to learn how to protect his chin, he's a capable fighter and he can do that but he doesn't always choose to.

“I like when he boxes, his boxing ability is very good and he has great speed. He's in with one of the best fighters in the world here and I'm not sure if he has what it takes to beat him but I'm very interested in what he shows in this fight.

“He's getting to the age and to the point in his career where it's either over or it's not. On Saturday night we will see.”

Amir Khan challenges undefeated Terence Crawford for the WBO World Welterweight belt, live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday 20th April. For more information go to www.bt.com/btsportboxoffice.

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