Terence Crawford’s trainer believes the undefeated WBO welterweight champion is ready for Amir Khan’s speed after utilising the resources of the US Air Force Academy.
Crawford, who defends his title against Khan at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, is widely considered one of the two finest fighters in the world alongside Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko.
With 25 knockouts from his 34 wins, the 31-year-old is a heavy favourite, yet if Khan reproduces the hand speed that so many have previously struggled with, there is the possibility of an upset.
To that end, trainer Brian McIntyre has refused to take any risks.
“We went to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs,” the American said. “We wanted to work on his hand-eye co-ordination because Khan’s got fast hands.
“We just wanted to make him a little bit more aware. The drill is little lights come on and he has to follow the lights, stuff they do for the pilots.
“They were really impressed with him. We’ve been there before, he likes to go and shoot basketball with the cadets.
“We all know who the best fighter in the world is. Look at what he’s done in the game so far. He’s done way more than Lomachenko. Lomachenko ain’t really unified at two different weight classes like Terence has.
“People are only looking at Lomachenko because he got two gold medals. So what?”
Despite acknowledging Khan’s speed, McIntyre claims the 32-year-old has declined since his defeat to Saul Alvarez in 2016 when he suffered such a devastating knockout his career was put at risk.
Khan has since taken confidence from reuniting with Virgil Hunter, the trainer who oversaw the finest performances of his career, but McIntyre is convinced that even Hunter does not expect his fighter to win.
“If you listen to Virgil’s interview, he’s not even confident for Amir Khan,” he said. “Am I right or wrong? Just listen to him. He was asked what does Amir Khan need to win and he said prayer and luck.
“You ask me and I say Terence is going to beat the s*** out of Amir Khan.
“He never said that about (retired fighter) Andre Ward, has he?
“Khan’s not the same. He fights more kind of scared because he’s scared to get touched on his chin. He ain’t got no power.
“(The Alvarez defeat is) going to be there. It’s always going to be there at the back of his mind ‘What if I get hit again? Don’t let the world see me go to sleep’.
“This won’t be the best win of Terence’s career. I bet you (former Crawford opponents Jose) Benavides and Felix Diaz could probably beat Khan.”
::Amir Khan fights Terence Crawford live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday 20th April. For more information www.bt.com/btsportboxoffice