James “Buddy” McGirt was known as being a skillful fighter with strong fundamentals. He seamlessly brought those skills to other professionals, and quickly developed as a hot trainer, as a trainer. His work with Arturo Gatti was brilliant, as he brought Gatti from a low point in his career to a junior welterweight title he defended twice before losing it to Floyd Jr.
McGirt has all the expertise in boxing as almost any one, and Khan would enjoy the convenience of having all that at his fingertips. Several of his habits and flaws could be erased after a number of fights. His jab would be more effective, he’d control distance better, he’d use more head movement, and his awesome footwork would be more effective. Add these improvements to his natural athleticism and it’s a recipe for a successful comeback.
One thing that strikes me about Robert Garcia is his versatility. He was actually a very skilled fighter like a professional, and that he may have imparted that nicely to his fighters. His most notable fighters lately are Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios, and Kelly Pavlik-for whom Garcia is now managing another comeback. He seems to be managing well with all of them, though these are three different types of fighters.
Most notable of his fighters is Donaire, who especially skillful and mobile. As Khan is most similar to Donaire in style, Donaire would be his benchmark. I can see Garcia helping to cultivate Kahn’s attack to be better, having him take a moment on his punches, while throwing shorter shots. I will also see Khan using his lateral movement to acquire better angles to land punches, and not simply to acquire away. If Khan can learn to move his head like Donaire, we might soon forget about what happened against Garcia.
Up to now, I discussed ways that the aforementioned trainers can help Khan, and then make him a greater fighter. As I possess the utmost respect for Emanuel Steward, I don’t think it could be advantageous for Khan to possess Steward in the corner.
By teaching him how to keep people away from his chin, it’s true that Steward engineered Wladimir Klitschko’s comeback. That’s easy for Klitschko to do, given that he usually has a huge height advantage over opponents. While Khan is tall to the weight divisions he’s competed in, which may not work so easily.
Steward is excellent with the basics, and that he puts a massive concentrate on power and aggression. Having said this, Steward biggest successes happen to be fighters that have tremendous power (Tommy Hearns, Lennox Lewis, and Klitschko). With fighters who definitely have respectable power, he hasn’t added a lot with their game (as was the truth with Jermain Taylor, plus more recently Miguel Cotto and Chad Dawson). While training with Steward could help Khan produce more knockouts, I really could also see him abandoning defense. This may make him more fun to watch, but it we’d likely see him get knocked out more too.
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