Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach believes Amir “King” Khan of Britain is capable of giving Floyd Mayweather Jr. trouble in their welterweight showdown.
But at the same time Roach doubts Khan will be able to hand the American his first-career loss.
Khan seems to be on track for a Mayweather fight after winning a poll that pitted him against Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, although the pound-for-pound king has yet to make a formal announcement about the fight.
Roach, speaking to Boxing Scene, said Khan “has a good style for Mayweather.”
“But I never said he was going to beat Mayweather,” he quickly added. “I don’t think he can beat Mayweather, but he can give him trouble. He’s very athletic, he’s in and out very quick.”
This is a change in tune for Roach, who trained Khan for several years. During that time, he said he has two fighters who can beat Mayweather – Khan and Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
But with Khan now out of his stable, Roach is offering a new opinion.
“His problem is that he likes to stay in the pocket a little bit too long sometimes, and that usually costs him,” Roach said of Khan. “When it costs him, he doesn’t have a great chin.”
Two of the Khan’s three career losses have come by knockout, and he has shown in the past an inability to handle strong punchers.
“Let’s face it, Mayweather can punch when he wants to. When he wants to draw you in, if you look at his fights against Ricky Hatton and a couple other guys, he can punch when he wants to,” Roach added.
Roach also doubts that a fight card headlined by a Mayweather-Khan showdown will be a big pay-per-view draw.
“The fight won’t do well on pay-per-view, because (Khan) doesn’t have a pay-per-view audience,” he explained. “Amir has been knocked out too many times, Mayweather’s undefeated and Amir’s U.K. audience is very small.”
Giving his final prediction on the fight, Roach said: “I think Amir can do well in the fight, but down the stretch, I like Mayweather.”