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article imageTrainer says Amir Khan would beat Pacquiao, maybe Mayweather, too

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 24, 2014 in Sports
British boxer Amir Khan's trainer, Virgil Hunter, has come out with a flurry of confident words on his fighter's chances against the world's best fighters, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hunter was the boxing world's 2011 Trainer of the Year.
Pacquiao's age, style, no longer mix
He told RingTV that his guy could beat Pacquiao and, if at the top of his game, take Mayweather, too. Not an idol boaster, Hunter has considered the subject of what Khan, 28, can do carefully and he thinks that at 36 Pacquiao's age and fighting style no longer mix well.
“I think when I look at Manny Pacquiao, particularly his last fight, he’s still the same fighter today that he was five years ago. In other words, he still fights in an energetic style. He hasn’t transformed into a more relaxed style, so to speak," Hunter told Ring.
“Most guys who are 34 or 35, they learn how to become masters of what they do in the sense of mastering the style and knowing when and when not to do so.
“I think that one of the advantages that Amir would have in that fight is that Manny would have to work very hard in training camp, which could be detrimental to a fighter of his age," he added. “Manny still fights at a high-energy style. He has not made that transition. He hasn’t re-invented himself like all fighters in their mid-to-late-30s have to do.”
Hunter: Khan "would win that fight"
The trainer from Oakland, who started out teaching troubled youth boxing, took Andre Ward under his wing when Ward was just 9 and took him all the way to an Olympic gold medal. So he has patience and that may come in handy as he waits for Khan (30-3) to get a chance at either Pacquiao (57-5-2) or Mayweather (47-0).
Those two look to be finally heading for a showdown, possibly May 2. Could the Pakistani-Brit Khan, who beat Devon Alexander convincingly on Dec. 13, take on the winner? If he does then Hunter would surely hope that winner was the Pac Man.
"I would have to say that I would give (Khan) more than a better chance at winning that fight (with Pacquiao)," he said. "My personality is not to predict but I’m confident that he would win the fight.”
Floyd Mayweather: high boxing IQ
Mayweather is a different animal, Hunter said. He is, after all, a boxer with an extremely measured approach to a fight, one who, at 37, is relaxed and does not rely on speed or energy. Some believe him to be one of the smartest boxers in the history of the sport. Khan's trainer knows that makes him into, regardless of age, the toughest opponent in the fight game today.
“I would not disillusion myself and think that it’s going to be some kind of cakewalk fight because Amir is fast," Hunter said of a Khan vs. Mayweather match. "We might have an edge in that department but Floyd definitely has an edge in the boxing IQ and in the processing department.
“My job would be to get Amir into a physical and mental state that would take his youth and his ability to another level that night. In other words, that he takes it to a level that only his youth can take it to and that Floyd can not obtain those levels anymore due to his age."
Amir Khan: boxer keeps growing
He believes his fighter would have to have his best night and he also believes that could happen. He'd have his work cut out for him in getting his guy to be at his very best but thinks that Khan is still growing. And very capable of learning.
“So that makes it a chess match and I think that my advantage would be to get Amir to fight over his head that night. In other words, just take it to that level where he is capable of going," Hunter told Ring.
“If Amir does that, which I believe that he’s capable of doing, then he’s capable of winning the fight, understanding that it’s not going to be an easy fight and that it’s going to be the toughest fight of his life going up against a master.”
What exactly does the trainer think the fighter has to do to get there? Nothing that he isn't already doing, just, really, more of the same.
“To be honest, Amir Khan just has to continue to grow in the manner that he’s growing,” said Hunter. “If he does that, then he’s going to be a threat to anybody, whether it be Manny, Floyd, Kell Brook or anybody else. “
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