In an interview with The RING, Virgil Hunter says that new charge Amir Khan is doing well in their first training camp together, as Khan prepares for his December 15 fight against Carlos Molina, hoping to stop a two-fight losing streak.
Hunter says that he expects Khan to execute as the fight goes on, but isn't expecting an easy bout:
"I felt that he needed an understanding of boxing. He needed more mental training instead of physical, and that that was going help him. Amir Khan has the physical ability to adapt to this understanding. I mean, it's not anything that he can't do if he understands why he's doing it and why he needs to do it. It's not like he has to be taught something.
"He just has to have it mentally infused into him why he needs to do this, and then, when he's in the ring, he needs to be given examples of why he needs to do them. So he learns very quickly. ... (Molina is) a good fighter and he's going to be determined, and I don't think that it's going to be an easy fight. But as the rounds emerge, I expect for Amir to execute."
Hunter has become an in-demand trainer late this year, so far known almost exclusively for his work with super middleweight world champion Andre Ward. Both Khan and Alfredo Angulo have recently hooked up with the California-based coach, and are both in action on the December 15 card. Angulo will face Jorge Silva.
There's no denying that Khan has the physical tools and the natural talents to be a high-level fighter, but until he has another big run like he had from 2009-11 with Freddie Roach, he's going to have to prove skeptics wrong all over again. He turns 26 on Saturday, which seems almost crazy given the ups and downs of his career, and the consistent spotlight that has been on him since he turned pro in 2005, and if he can adjust and make some changes under Hunter's tutelage, there's a lot of miles left to go in his career. But as we've said numerous times, it's really up to Amir Khan on that score -- his bad habits have brought him to where he is right now, a fighter who needs a win to stay in the hunt at the moment, and really cannot afford a slip-up against an opponent like Molina. It may be booked as a "get-well" date, but it's must-win for Amir Khan.