MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach is doubtful that a change in trainers will be enough to alter the fighting style of former world champion Amir “King” Khan of Britain.
Khan dumped Roach as his trainer after suffering two consecutive losses -- first a controversial split decision to Lamont Peterson last December and then a fourth-round stoppage to Danny Garcia last July.
“I have no hard feelings,” Roach said in an interview with Max Boxing regarding their split.
Khan is close to naming his new coach, with veteran trainer Virgil Hunter reportedly his top choice.
“I think Virgil’s technically a very good trainer, with the work he’s done with Andre Ward,” Roach said. “They look like a good fit.”
“But can somebody change another person? I don’t think so. I’ve been trying to get Amir to settle down for a long time now with no success,” Roach added “He likes to exchange a lot. I don’t think that’s going to change.”
Hunter works with the unbeaten American Ward, who was the 2011 Fighter of the Year and the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.
Hunter’s relationship with Ward gives Roach another reason to question Khan’s choice.
“The thing is, he (Khan) says he doesn’t want to take a backseat to (Filipino boxer) Manny Pacquiao, but now he’s gonna have to take a backseat to some other boxer,” Roach said, in reference to Ward.
“Virgil Hunter has a fighter that’s a very dominant fighter right now, and Amir’s gonna have to take a backseat to him,” he added.
It was reported that members of Khan’s team approached Roach to ask him to drop Pacquiao and Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and to instead make Khan his number one fighter.
Roach said when Khan’s promoter, Asif Vali, made the request, he thought it was a joke.
“Then they asked me in person one time, and then the time in person, I said, ‘These guys are serious.’ So I said, you know, that’s something I just can’t do,” he said.
With Khan no longer in his stable, Roach hints that a fight between the British boxer and Pacquiao may now be possible.
“Well, like I said, I wish you the best, Amir, but stay away from punchers. And my guys are punchers,” Roach said.