Amir Khan's trainer, Virgil Hunter, was initially reluctant to for his charge to accept a fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez on 7 May. The 29-year-old Brit is moving up in weight to face the Mexican fighter at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Hunter has confessed he had to be persuaded to agree to a fight at a catch weight of 155 pounds.
Khan has recently been operating in the 147-pound division, and most boxing experts think he faces a stiff task in trying to beat the current WBC middleweight championship. But since his initial fears, Hunter has grown increasingly confident of Khan's chances against the naturally bigger man.
"It was Shah [Khan, Amir's father] who came to me, and initially I wasn't for the fight, but I hadn't seen Amir yet," Hunter shared during a pre-fight conference call. "I wasn't for the fight: what changed my outlook on it was Amir's response to me when I asked him why did he want this fight and his response to me was quite assuring that he understood what he was going up against and what he was getting into.
"Off of that, I felt much more confident in his ability to be competitive, and win the fight. He understood what he could and could not do."
Contrary to popular perception, Hunter does not consider Khan to be the outsider. Indeed, the disciplinarian revealed he expects the Brit to become the new middleweight champion next month.
"I don't view Amir as an underdog in this fight. I'm very confident in his abilities, otherwise I'd be doing him a disservice if I viewed him as an underdog. No, I view him as the top dog," the respected coach explained. "That's how we're approaching the fight, we're not approaching the fight hoping to get victory, hoping that it goes our way: it's a determination to get victory and to make it go our way."