According to ESPN's Dan Rafael, former world champion Amir Khan has hired Virgil Hunter as his new trainer and will face Carlos Molina—a career lightweight with a thin resume and little power—in a comeback fight this December.
Despite the dubious nature of Khan’s defeat to Lamont Peterson two fights ago, the former WBA/IBF titleist and 2004 Olympic silver medalist is coming off consecutive losses and finds himself at a critical juncture in his career.
When considering Khan’s two recent announcements, the decision to box Molina (17-0-1, 7 KO) is somewhat head scratching, and perhaps, too soft of a touch. Khan (26-3, 18 KO) has generally been willing to fight elite opposition and is consistently in entertaining scraps, which somewhat mitigates the selection of a vastly inferior opponent for his ring return.
Considering that Khan suffered a thudding knockout loss to Danny Garcia in his last fight, it is reasonable to expect him to rebuild his career carefully, and the selection of Hunter as his new trainer is both a confident and positive choice.
If anyone can mould Khan into a more complete fighter at this juncture of his career, it is the knowledgeable and experienced Hunter, who happens to be the reigning Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year.
While fans and pundits will surely argue and debate the selection of Molina as an opponent, what cannot be denied is that this fight offers Khan and Hunter the perfect platform to work on new aspects of Khan’s craft in a competitive yet relatively safe environment.
Khan’s stubborn bravery and questionable chin are flaws that might never be corrected. That said, it is reasonable to suspect that Hunter can offer new insight and perspective on other aspects of Khan’s makeup as a prizefighter that could pay both immediate and gradual dividends.
This is not to say that Khan will suddenly transform in Andre Ward—Hunter’s star pupil and clear No. 1 priority (we’ll see how that plays out); rather, expect to see certain subtle changes in Khan when he makes his highly anticipated comeback. What might those changes be?
Let’s find out.