Amir Khan is targeting Virgil Hunter and Pedro Diaz as his new trainer, reportedly. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Golden Boy Promotions)
Amir Khan and Freddie Roach made it 100% official yesterday that they would be parting ways and not working together for Khan's next fight, which is tentatively set for December 15. The two appear to have done this in a pretty amicable fashion, with Roach saying he wished Khan good luck.
Today, Khan released an official statement on the matter:
"After nearly four years together, in which we enjoyed some great success, I part ways with my trainer Freddie Roach. I would like to thank him for all his hard work and help during this period and express my gratitude to him for the progress he helped bring about whilst I was under him.
"I would also like to thank his team. I loved every minute training in LA at the Wildcard Gym, learning and sparring alongside some truly great fighters and meeting some fantastic people.
"I feel now, however, is the right time in my career to make a fresh change and bring in a new trainer. I'm looking forward, and am excited, about the prospect of working alongside someone new. I will make an announcement in due course of who this will be.
"There are some specific aspects of my game I'm looking to work on and hopefully improve. My next training camp begins in early October and I will have everything in place by then."
This move was all but announced to everyone a few days ago, when Roach indicated that Team Khan had asked him to drop Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in order to keep working with Amir. This was a ridiculous idea, of course, but I suppose it never hurts to ask?
Anyway, I don't know where this will go. It's been reported that the two trainers he's considering as Roach's replacement are Virgil Hunter and Pedro Diaz, both of whom are excellent trainers and would be tremendous choices by Team Khan, but you never really know how a fighter-trainer relationship will go until you they work together. The best fits on paper can be disastrous. The most seemingly odd pairings can work -- hell, even Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Sr had one fantastic fight together.
There's been no word on whether those trainers would have to drop Andre Ward or Miguel Cotto to gain Khan.
Khan wants to improve his defense, but it's going to be up to him more than a trainer. Khan has fantastic ability and skills. He's naturally gifted. But he has weaknesses he needs to protect, and he's so easily drawn into the exact wrong fight for him, that trainers can't do much. I'm not saying Roach is a great defensive trainer, because I don't think he is. But I don't think Freddie Roach is the No. 1 problem with Khan losing to Danny Garcia or Lamont Peterson.
The good news is, it sounds like Khan does know that he needs help. That's a start. Where that leads is anyone's guess, though. A new trainer is not a cure-all.