VIRGIL HUNTER, respected trainer of Amir Khan and Andre Berto, is determined to harness the former’s talent after he missed out on a fight with Floyd Mayweather, who will instead face Berto.
Khan has been pursuing a fight with Mayweather for some time, but has once again been snubbed by the unbeaten star, who has elected to face Berto on September 12.
Hunter, who also trains pound-for-pound star Andre Ward, told Boxing News he is yet to speak to Khan since the announcement, but has big plans for his charge.
“Amir has a chance, an opportunity, in boxing to carve out his own legacy if he continues to listen and put forth his effort and exhibit his passion,” he said.
“He hasn’t even scratched the surface yet, I’m still in an experimental stage with him.
“To mentally get him fully there, if I can do that, because he has a lot on his plate and it’s unfortunate we’re not in the same city, but I’m constantly reinforcing this – I won’t let up. He’ll have to move on before I let up. I won’t let this type of talent waste away. I’m adamant about his development.
“We’ll see how that goes, but I expect to talk to him next week and for him to be training out here [at Hunter’s gym in California] in mid-September.”
Now operating at welterweight, having won world titles at 140lbs, Khan could be matched with some of the top names in a stacked division, such as Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, who stopped Khan in 2012.
Promoter Bob Arum has also recently claimed Khan could face his fighter, Manny Pacquiao, in the Middle East sometime next year.
While he did not namedrop any specific fighters for Khan’s next outing, expected to be late this year, Hunter maintains he wants Khan to fight the very best.
“He’s at his best when he knows he has a challenge. When he has a tough, tough challenge in front of him he’s at his best,” he opined.
“I don’t like him in a situation where he thinks it’s easy because mentally he’ll slack off. When you have his kind of ability, you can sometimes slack off mentally. He could be one of the best that ever did it.”