Amir Khan: ďNow itís up to Timothy Bradley to take the fight and come back to us reallyĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Interviewed by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - Last weekís 121st edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) who is coming off of a sixth round technical decision victory against the previously unbeaten Paul McCloskey (22-1, 12 KOs). Khan spoke about his fight, talked about a potential showdown against Timothy Bradley, and provided insight with regards to his future plans in the sport. Here is a complete transcript of that intrerview.
JENNA J: We have a great guest to open up this weekís program. We are joined by the reigning WBA light welterweight champion of the world, Amir Khan. Howís everything going Amir?
AMIR KHAN: Everything is good you know. Itís been a few days since the fight. Iím just relaxing and chilling out now and spending time with the family back in the UK. Iím just chilling out really.
JENNA: Alright well letís talk about your fight. You were facing off against Pacul McCloskey whoís 22-0. You won by sixth round technical decision. How do you feel about your performance?
KHAN: Well you know my performance was alright. You know watching on video Paul McCloskey was very awkward because heís got a southpaw and with his upper body heís got a lot of lateral movement and stuff. But it seemed to me he didnít want to fight when he was in there. He was in there to survive and he was happy just to go the full twelve rounds. You know he was talking a big fight before in the press conference and everything, but when it came down to the fight he just didnít turn up it seems to me. I think in the whole fight he only caught me probably once. I was catching him with a few shots and he was defending most of the time and not coming to fight. Our game plan was for him to come forward so we can fight and catch him in between when he throws shots, but he didnít do that. With Paul McCloskey you donít see many people that want to fight him because he can make fights look messy, but we took the fight. At the end of the day he was undefeated and weíve defeated him. All the judges had me winning the fight, every round. I really think if the fight did go on it would have been one or two rounds more because in the sixth round I hurt him with a good shot. I think I would have probably ended up stopping him or knocking him out really. So I think the ref and the doctors did a favor for him really to stop the fight.
JENNA: Okay now you mentioned before he was a southpaw and he also has a very awkward style. Can you tell us what it was like in those early rounds having to deal with that elusiveness and being unsuccessful trying to land on him consistently?
KHAN: The early rounds I was winning them on points. It was a game of chess really. I was hitting him and he made me miss with a few shots with the awkward style that he has. He was going very low at times and he was dodging a lot and stuff, but I have to say he was awkward. I have fought many people in the past who were southpaws, but they came to fight. They were game, but with this guy I think he just really didnít want to fight. There were times in the fight where it got kind of boring. I was dictating the pace, I was the first to attack and I was the first to counter. I mean that was the whole thing.
JENNA: Were you at all disappointing being that you were fighting back in the UK and that your opponent did not allow for a more exciting fight?
KHAN: Yeah you know at the end of the day I wanted to put a big fight on for the crowd. If you guys saw on HBO Iím sure you saw the amount of people we had in that crowd. We sold around 18,000 tickets. You know I have a big fan base in Britain, but I think it would have been better if he had come to fight. Iím sure his fans would have been happy with him and my fans would have been happier because it would have been an exciting fight. When only one guy comes to fight and the other guy is just defending and surviving I think it just bottles it. I think the whole were crowd were happy at the end the way it finished and the way things happened, because I still put on a good performance. I was still being the first to attack him and the first guy to counter him and everything, so I made the fight exciting.
JENNA: Alright now you mentioned before the doctor stopped it. It was obviously his decision, but in your opinion having reviewed the fight, do you think the fight should have been stopped when it was due to that cut?
KHAN: Yeah, you know I think the doctor made the right choice and the referee. Firstly he wasnít really fighting back and the referee probably noticed that in the fight that he wasnít really in the fight and that he was six points down on all three of the judgesí cards. I think thatís another point there and lastly, if the fight had carried on I think just split it up. In boxing at the end of the day we have to look after the fighters and Paul McCloskey wants to fight again and I think in his own mind he knew. When the doctor was asking him questions I was in the opposite corner and I could see and hear a few things, and you could see Paul McCloskeyís body language. I didnít think he wanted to continue. Iíve been hurt in fights and normally when a referee asks you a question you normally jump up like you are fine and you want to get right back into it, but it seemed like he was too laid back and that he didnít really want to continue. Then when the fight was stopped literally like a few minutes later then he started to kick up a fuss. It was a bit too late then. I mean he should have been doing that while the doctor was asking him questions. He didnít really bother then, but I think it was just a bit of hype for him and his team. I think his promotion team all decided to make noises and say that we should have a rematch, but even if there was a rematch I mean itís a fight that wouldnít even motivate me because I still think I was only in my first or second gear in that fight. I donít think I moved up a gear to fight him. I was just fighting him at a normal pace and I think it would be suicide for him really if he wanted to come in the ring with me again because we know exactly what he does and if we fought him again I think weíd break him down even better.
JENNA: Alright well winning this fight sets up a very, very big potential fight with Timothy Bradley on July 23. How likely is that fight to happen still?
KHAN: Iíve always been saying I want to fight him. Iím ready to take the fight on that day in July. So Iím happy to take that date and have Timothy Bradley and have a unification fight. Thatís my ambition. Iíve spoken to Golden Boy and I told Golden Boy what I want and who I want to fight. Theyíre pushing the Timothy Bradley fight for me. I mean HBO wants the fight. I think the whole world wants to see the two best junior welterweights fight each other. So Iím here now ready. Iíve put my mouth on the line. I said listen, Iíll take the fight. Now itís up to Timothy Bradley to take the fight and come back to us really.
JENNA: Well great. Weíre also on the phone with my Co-Host Geoff.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Amir, congratulations on the victory and itís a pleasure to have you back on the show.
CIANI: Amir I wanted to ask you, with regards to the fight with Bradley the last time we had your trainer Freddie Roach on the show he mentioned that he didnít see the rush to get into that fight and he thought that there could be more time for that fight to build up. Iím wondering why you and he seemed to differ on this one?
KHAN: Well I think looking at him now, Freddie also says himself when questioned after the fight about Timothy Bradley. He said, ďLook! Weíd be happy to fight Timothy now!Ē Maybe he thought that there were bigger fights out there for me which would make me a lot of money. I donít know why he said that then. Normally when you make them wait for fights a little bit longer they are worth more. Iíll give you an example. When if fought Maidana I was offered less money the first time the fight was offered to me. Six months down the line the fight was a massive fight and I made double what I was offered the first time. It just shows waiting sometimes makes you a lot of money. With the experience Freddie Roach has got, maybe thatís why he said that earlier but now having HBO backing the fight and there is a lot of money at stake for this fight against Bradley. I mean I want the fight and I donít think itís about the money, either! I think itís about unifying the division and being number one because I think in the future there are some huge fights out there for me. Iím only 24 and I want to be one of the youngest ever to unify the division. I think thatís my goal is to break records. I want the fight and I spoke to Freddie and Freddie was happy to take the fight. Iíve let it known to Golden Boy and Golden Boy is going to be speaking to Team Bradley and speaking to his promotion team and everyone. They got the answer from me and Golden Boy that we want the fight. Now we are just waiting for the answer from Bradley. A lot of people might say it was Amir not wanting the fight, but itís me who wants the fight and weíre not getting answers back from Bradleyís team.
CIANI: A lot of people thought that Bradley and Alexander was going to be a competitive fight, myself included, and it wound up being a pretty dominant effort for Bradley. Iím wondering how do you see yourself matching up with Bradley and do you think he would be the most talented fighter youí;ve ever faced?
KHAN: Probably, I mean I fought a few good fighters there. I mean it would be strong. I think it would be awkward at times but I fought a lot of people in the past and especially with being an unorthodox fighter as well would make it just be that much easier. Iíve sparred with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and other great fighters. I think I should be fine really. One thing about me, I know the Bradley and Alexander fight was a little bit boring to watch. I remember I was in England commentating on that fight in a studio and it was quite boring to watch, especially at four in the morning! So one thing about me is I bring excitement and I bring entertainment to the ring, and when I fight Bradley everyone will be on the edge of their seats because I think thatís the style I bring to the ring and thatís why we sell out arenas in England and we have a lot of fans worldwide because they like my style.
CIANI: Now prior to your fight with McCloskey, I donít necessarily think this is a fair thing because I donít think one has to do with the other, but a lot observers started questioning your victory over Marcos Maidana because of the fact he had a very tough fight with Erik Morales. What did you think of Moralesí performance and did he surprise you in that one?
KHAN: Yeah Morales surprised me. I think Maidana went into the fight thinking it was going to be easy thinking he was going to walk through Morales. I mean I thought the same thing. I was watching it in England at my house and we sat down and you can see Morales was up and ready for this fight but on the other hand you see a Maidana who was so confident. I mean I donít think he was even sweating when he was walking towards the ring at all. Also you could see it in his physique as well. Heís always had big arms and big forearms, but he didnít really have that cut body like when he fought me. He was cut up and he looked really good. I really think that he looked drained at the weigh-in. I donít think he trained as well and he wasnít really prepared for the fight thinking it was going to be easy work for him. But Morales showed up for a good fight and he proved himself being a good fighter. A few people said is Maidana as good as we think he is, but I think that Maidana would have done better if he trained well for that fight, because I really think it wasnít the same Maidana who fought the likes of me, and Victor Ortiz, and Kotelnik and those guys because I donít think he was ready and prepared for Morales.
CIANI: You said before that a fight with Bradley would be about the unification of the division. If for some reason that fight couldnít come together, then would a fight against newly crowned champion Zab Judah be something that interests you for the same reason?
KHAN: Yeah I think that would be good! At the end of the day I want titles and I want to win titles and be known as number one in the division. You got Zab Judah whoís a world champion. That could be a fight down the line. Iím one guy who will never refuse fights. Iíll fight whoever they put in front of me. I mean Iíve got a great team looking after me with Golden Boy. They will get me the best fights at the best times, so Iíll just leave it to them guys, but Iím happy to fight whoever! Zab Judah, Bradley, Iím ready! Iím at that stage now weíre Iím going towards my peak and Iím hitting my peak and I want to fight the best out there.
JENNA: Alright now Amir, we have just a couple of more questions before we let you off the line. If you canít get a fight with Timothy Bradley or Zab Judah, would you consider a move to 147 and if you did make that move would Manny Pacquiao every potentially be in your future?
KHAN: Manny Pacquiao and me will never fight! Weíve spoke about it, weíve laughed about it, and weíre good friends. That fight wonít happen. I mean Freddie did mention something on the TV in England with us fighting together. But I think he just used Mannyís name because he said I would be the next pound-for-pound champion. So a lot of people twisted it a little bit, but me and Manny will never fight each other. There are other fights out there. You got Shane Mosley, you got Mayweather, you even got now in the mix Morales who also could be a credible opponent. There are a lot of good fighters out there, but moving up to 147 at this stage is a bit too early for me, because I donít really want to move up and get kind of comfortable at 147 and then not coming back down to 140. I think I want to unify it first and once I move up to that weight I want to stay at that weight. There is no point in me going up and getting used to making 147 and then killing myself making 140, because Iím a very big 140 fighter and at this moment Iím happy staying at this weight and whoever they put in front of me including Zab Judah or whoever, Iím ready to take on all the fighters because itís my job and my job is to go in the ring and beat the best out there. Whoever they put in front of me Iím ready for.
JENNA: Alright well you mentioned before your desire to fight Timothy Bradley next. Most people think that if you are to beat him, something that you will have to worry about in the ring is not just his punches but also other tactics like headbutting. Would you have any such worries if you were to step in the ring with him?
KHAN: At the end of the day I donít know. Heís going to be a tough one, because heís hit me in the back of my head and heís going to come in with his head and stuff. But I think with my style Iím a skilled fighter so I think Iíll be quite far from his head, and if he wants to use his head as a technique I mean heíll be running his head right into my fist. Iíll be using fist onto his head so I donít think weíll be getting into a lot of head clashes. Iím sure the referee before the fight will tell and warn Bradley about his head so he knows in the fight not to use that head, because if you look at his last four or five fights, I mean that head is a big part of his game plan. Iím not taking anything away from him because heís a good champion and I donít want people to think he just wins fights with his head. I mean heís a good champion. Heís won some good fights, but Iím sure the referee is probably going to give him a good little warning before the fight and heíll think twice before using his head.
JENNA: Now what can the fans expect from Amir Khan for the rest of 2011?
KHAN: Big fights. I want to move up the pound-for-pound rankings. I think around about in the top fifteen, I think I was number twelve last time someone told me, but weíre getting there. Iím young. Iím 24. Iím going to just keep on succeeding in the sport and win more world titles, unify the division this year, move up the pound-for-pound rankings, and by this time next year Iíll be in the mix of fighting the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
JENNA: I have one final question. Is there anything you want to say to all your fans and the fans that came out to watch your fight with Paul McCloskey?
KHAN: Yeah I want to say what a great crowd it was in England. Even with HBO, I want to thank HBO and all the TV networks for showing the fight around the world. I mean fan mail I get, emails I get from all around the world from fans I didnít know I had. It makes me happy. It makes me go out there and do more for the sport. Iím an exciting fighter and I just want to put on an exciting fighter and I just want to put on exciting fights for my fans out there. So I just want to thank them for supporting me and hopefully 2011 will be a bigger year than 2010. Iíll be in Vegas for Mannyís fight and so Iíll get to meet a lot of fans there. Iíll also be there in Vegas to pick up my award for best fighter of the year so hopefully weíll catch up with a lot people down there.
JENNA: Well Amir, itís been an absolute pleasure having you once again on the show. We wish you all the best luck in the future and canít wait to see you back in the ring.
KHAN: Thank you. Great to speak with you guys.
CIANI: Thanks Amir, good luck.
KHAN: Thank you. Take care. Bye.
For those interested in listening to the Amir Khan interview in its entirety, it right at the start of the program.
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Article posted on 26.04.2011
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