Amir Khan: "Zab Judah is very dangerous, he can punch, and heís quick. I think heís a tougher fight than Bradley."
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - Last weekís 129th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with reigning WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) who is scheduled to have a unification bout on July 23 against IBF champion Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KOs). Khan spoke about his upcoming fight, discussed his future plans, and also shared opinions on a variety of topics including Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, Mayweather-Ortiz, Maidana-Guerrero, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
JENNA J: Well moving to our final guest of this weekís show, he is the reigning WBA junior welterweight champion of the world making his sixth appearance with On the Ropes, weíre joined by Amir ďKingĒ Khan! Howís the day going, Amir?
AMIR KHAN: Iím doing good, thanks! Iíve done my hard running and stuff, and Iím looking forward to my next training session with Freddie. Training is coming along really well. Itís been around about three weeks now weíve been in camp, and with the fight getting closer Iím looking forward to it.
JENNA: Alright well you have a very big unification match against ďSuperĒ Zab Judah. How did this fight come to be, Amir?
KHAN: Well we wanted to fight Bradley, but in my eyes he didnít want the fight. Bradley kind of chickened out of the fight so then we had to turn the page over, and we got Zab Judah! Zab holds the IBF title. Zab Judah is very dangerous, he can punch, and heís quick. I think heís a tougher fight than Bradley. So we want that. We want the fans to see exciting fights and obviously put on good shows. So thatís the reason weíre taking on Zab Judah, and itís a unification fight so that makes the fight even bigger.
JENNA: Before you guys have even gotten into the ring, you two have been landing blows on each other via cyberspace on Twitter. Whatís that whole promotion been like so far?
KHAN: Itís been fine. At the end of the day I have a job and Iím just focused on my training now. Zab likes to put his words out and try to get himself confident in a way. Thatís the way I see it. Heís giving himself confidence, but at the end of the day he can say what he wants because on the 23rd of July itís going to be me and him. Iím sure heís hoping he can do what he says, because Iím going to let my fists do all the talking.
JENNA: Well Zab Judah has kind of had a resurgence in his career. Many people thought he was done and all of a sudden he came back. Heís now the IBF light welterweight champion. What do you think about the Zab Judah that we see today?
KHAN: Yeah, Zab Judah is very dangerous. Heís sorted himself out and heís a better fighter now. A lot of people thought he was done, and heís come back and heís proven a lot of people wrong by winning the title. You know heís dangerous, and we canít take this fight easy. We have to go into this fight training hard and ready for this fight, because Iím at that level now where I canít afford to lose any if I want to fight the best out there. I have to beat the likes of Zab Judah and the people who they put in front of me. But yeah, Zab is dangerous still and I still think heís got a little bit left in him.
JENNA: Okay now you mentioned heís dangerous. A lot of people are actually saying this is actually a more dangerous fight for you than if you fought Timothy Bradley. Do you agree with that?
KHAN: Yeah I agree, because with Tim Bradley I donít think heís a big puncher. Bradley is not as awkward is Zab Judah. Zab Judahís a southpaw and heís quite awkward that way. I think yeah, in my eyes I think this fight is a tougher fight than Bradley. The Bradley fight was the one that I wanted to have a big unification fight, but he turned it down and then I had to go with this one. Like I said, whoever they put in front of me Iíll fight them and Iíll just win, and hopefully in the future a fight against Bradley can happen.
JENNA: Okay, weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Amir. Itís a pleasure to have you back on the show.
KHAN: Thank you.
CIANI: Amir, Iíve noticed that a lot of your critics are mentioning, similar to what Jenna said, that Zab will be the fastest strongest guy you have faced in a long time. Questions about your chin are still arising. Do you feel in some sense, as far as your critics are concerned, that you have to prove your chin all over again even though youíve arguably proved that in your fight with Maidana?
KHAN: Well no, not really. At the end of the day I just have to go in there and do what I do best. You are always going to get critics who are always going to be criticizing you because they just canít stand you doing well. They got to get you on little things. Thatís the only thing they got on me. Once I get Zab Judah out of the way theyíre still going to have things to say about me and theyíre still going to say things like Iím not good enough and whatever. Like I said, all of this just motivates me, and just pushes me, and just makes me train harder, and makes me want to prove people wrong.
CIANI: Now when you couldnít get the Bradley fight, youíve repeatedly said on this show that youíre goal is to clean out 140 and then make a move to welterweight perhaps as early as later this year. Youíre actually doing exactly what you said you were going to do, but was there any debate whether it was going to be Judah next? There were rumors floating around that you may have taken on lesser opposition, but what made this fight that ultimately happened when Bradley declined?
KHAN: I really wanted a unification fight, because I wanted to be one of the youngest British fighters to be a unified champion. To do that we needed another belt and I needed another credible opponent. I mean in the 140 pound division there was hardly anyone left. A lot of people said maybe a rematch against Maidana, but I had beaten Maidana less than six months ago and I thought there is no motivation for me to go in there and beat him again. So we looked at the top ten and we had seen Zab Judah who also holds the IBF title. It will be a unification fight, also against a guy who is well known in America. Heís a five-time world champion. So we took that fight and hopefully we beat him and it will take us to a different level, but we know how dangerous Zab is. Zabís still got speed. Heís still there and heís still very dangerous.
CIANI: Now when you look at Zab and you watch fight footage of him, what about his fighting style most impresses you?
KHAN: Well you know heís very awkward. I like the way how he makes his opponents miss and he comes back with a good big shot. I think thatís what we really need to do. We need to be careful. We canít make mistakes. We have to hit and move and not get involved with this guy and just be smart, and weíll be one step ahead of him every time.
CIANI: A lot of people often comment on the improvements youíve made since pairing up with Freddie Roach, and a lot of people have said similar things about Zab since he teamed up with Fall of Famer Pernell Whitaker. Iím just curious if I could quickly get your thoughts on that angle of it where, in addition to having you and Judah inside the ring you have a battle of strategies going on between Freddie Roach and Pernell Whitaker?
KHAN: Yeah you know, we know Freddie. Freddie Roach is probably one of the best trainers in the world and weíve seen what heís done with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and other great fighters. Pernell Whitaker was a great fighter, but weíve not really seen how good of a trainer he is. When me and Zab are going to be in the ring weíre going to be one-on-one. Weíre going to be on our own and the best man will win the fight, and weíll see what kind of training the fighters get. Iím not worrying about that. At the end of it, like I said Zab makes a lot of mistakes and heís got a lot habits that will always be there. So weíre just going to capitalize on them. We donít care about him changing new trainers and doing things differently. We know that we just have to beat Zab Judah, and be smart, and be one step ahead of him.
JENNA: Alright Amir, we talked a little bit before about how this fight came together. In your opinion though, really what do you think the reason was that Timothy Bradley didnít take it? Do you think it was like people say that he was waiting out his contract? Or do you really believe he just didnít want to fight you?
KHAN: I just really think he just didnít want to fight. Look, heís been out of the game now since early January. Thatís a long time. Now heís going to not be getting a fight in July, so heís going to move a couple of more, so it will be at least nine months before he next fights again. Itís a long time for a guy at his level at that age heís at. Heís at his peak. He needs to get as many fights as possible, so I donít know why heís staying out really. He should be active. In my eyes I donít think Bradley wanted to lose the two titles he has and also he didnít want to lose the zero in his record. Heís undefeated at the moment and he really knew he was going to get beat, and maybe thatís the reason heís not taking the fight.
JENNA: Yeah, it kind of seems like heís the odd man out because before they were talking maybe a potential fight between him and Mayweather. Mayweatherís now fighting Ortiz. You have Manny Pacquiao whoís fighting Marquez. Where do you see Timothy Bradleyís future and would you still consider a fight with him if you beat Zab Judah?
KHAN: Well once I beat Judah, I think it just depends on how Iím making the weight and everything and whether I want to move up a division. Iíd like to maybe look at the winner of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight. Thatís a fight for me in the future, but letís just see how it goes. I want to bethe unified champ. I want to be number one at the 140 pound division before I move up, so weíll just see how it goes.
JENNA: What do you think about Floyd Mayweather Juniorís choice of opponent of Victor Ortiz for his comeback?
KHAN: Yeah, you know Victor is coming from a good win. He won a world title and heís very dangerous. He has a lot of power and everything, but I think Floyd just has that style where heís very perfect, heís very smart, and he can break down someone like Victor Ortiz who has far less experience and maybe take him out. I mean Victor Ortiz has got a lot of heart and heíll be there all the way, but I donít think heís matched on the same level as Floyd Mayweather. I think Mayweather is maybe a level ahead.
JENNA: Now back to your fight with Zab Judah, how do you expect it to play out? I mean via Twitter you said he might be doing a ďchicken danceĒ again. Do you expect him to go twelve rounds with you?
KHAN: Well at the end of the day we train for the full distance and weíll be ready for the full twelve rounds, but who knows? I think if I catch him with a good shot I donít think heíll be there, but you never know. At the end of the day weíre just going to have to stick to the game plan. If he goes in the first round he goes, if he stays through the twelfth round weíre still going to be in front of him and winning rounds.
JENNA: Alright Amir, one of your former opponents Marcos Maidana has an interesting fight coming up in August. Heíll be facing off against Robert ďThe GhostĒ Guerrero. How do you see that one playing out?
KHAN: I think heíll beat ďGhostĒ Guerrero to be honest with you, because Guerrero has moved up so many weights and I think you had seen in his last fight I think the punching power and everything, he felt that against Michael Katsidis. When he fights Maidana in the 140 pound division I think itís a different game really, because heís going to be so strong and powerful. I really think Maidana will walk through Guerrero. It will be a tough fight for both of them, but it will be exciting.
JENNA: Alright now what is your official prediction for your fight on July 23 against ďSuperĒ Zab Judah?
KHAN: My official prediction would be maybe a late stoppage or a twelve round decision, and a win for me.
JENNA: Finally, you have a lot of fans and supporters. Is there anything you want to say to them that are looking forward to this fight?
KHAN: Yeah, I just want to thank all of my fans out there and hopefully they will be tuned in on HBO for the fight and youíll get to see me fight. Hopefully I can prove all the critics wrong and come away with another good fight in America, move up the rankings, and hopefully one day become pound-for-pound champion of the world.
JENNA: Alright well Amir, itís always a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for your time and we wish you the best of luck on the 23rd.
KHAN: Thank you. Thank you very much.
CIANI: Thanks Amir. Good luck.
KHAN: Thank you.
For those interested in listening to the Amir Khan interview in its entirety, it begins approximately fifty-nine minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 20.06.2011
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