WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan arrived in the Philippines last week to begin preparation for his December 11th bout with interim champion Marcos Maidana and is still in the early phases of his preparation with the fight still a few months away. Khan is training in Baguio City with stable mate and seven division champion Manny Pacquiao, who faces off with Antonio Margarito on November 13th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
<— Slideshow: Images of Amir Khan’s early preparation in Baguio City while Maidana grinds away in Las Vegas
Khan seems to be settling into the camp fairly well and has yet to kick up the intensity with his training. It was reported a few days ago that Khan went running with Pacquiao and wasn’t able to keep pace but Amir refuted those reports, noting via his personal Twitter account that “I was told to run 2 miles and Manny 3 miles. It’s [the] first week of proper work and I still got 8 weeks.”
I spoke with Khan’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza a few days ago and he pointed out that the British fighter and Pacquiao won’t be doing a lot of work together because Khan’s progress will be monitored separately. Reports have been conflicting as to whether the two men will spar with one another but what is certain from Ariza’s end is just how devoted he will be with Khan’s regimen.
“We have a long ways before his fight,” Ariza revealed.” I thought it was a good idea that we got him out here early and get him in tip top shape. I don’t think people give Amir credit for what he has accomplished; they are focusing too much on Maidana. It’s like I said, we’ll see who the bigger, stronger guy is the night of the fight. I’m guaranteeing Amir is going to be the stronger guy. I’m going to focus as much as I can on Amir, to get him in tip top shape. Get him bigger, get him stronger, get him faster. Having him train alongside Manny will give him that motivation and I have a lot of plans for Amir. This will definitely be my best work.”
Balancing a high level training camp isn’t the easiest of tasks as fighters have to worry about keeping their focus, not peaking too soon, and maintaining their weight amongst other concerns. Khan is doing his best to ease into what will surely soon become a rigorous schedule.
“I need to pace myself in training,” he continued. “Freddie [Roach] says he don’t want me to burn myself out. I started this camp earlier then most camps.”
Khan and members from his team, including Pacquiao, will be overseas no more than a few weeks before breaking for Los Angeles and the Wild Card Gym.
Maidana to begin sparring next Monday
While Khan is thousands of miles away beginning his routine, Marcos Rene Maidana is also settling into camp in Las Vegas at Barry’s Boxing just off of the strip. Maidana is coming off of a less than scintillating decision win over former champion DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley and seems to realize just how much commitment he must make put forth with this training camp.
Maidana’s duties are overseen by veteran corner man Miguel Diaz, a man who has worked with the likes of Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Erik Morales, Jose Luis Castillo, Jorge Arce and countless others. Diaz is content with Maidana’s efforts thus far and pointed out that there is still much time left to hone the skills of his charge.
While Maidana’s timing may be slightly off, it is his strength that has left a great impression thus far. Maidana’s his physical nature comes hand in hand with explosive power in both fists and if he is to upend Khan it will likely be by way of knockout.
Maidana’s advisor Sebastian Contursi advised me that Maidana will being sparring next week and that they are bringing in a Cuban fighter based in Miami for his early preparations, although the name of the fighter escaped him at the moment. There have also been whispers in the gym that junior welterweight Sid El Harrak could be a possibility as well. Harrak sports a 9-1 record with 4 knockouts and relocated from Las Vegas to Texas to regroup after his disappointing TKO loss to Lanard Lane late last year.
Khan and Maidana meet December 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort.
Images of Marcos Maidana’s training camp
Maidana settles into the first day of his camp
Power is the key for Argentinean chin checker Maidana
Second day images of Maidana in training
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at