Khan: 'We can't make any mistakes'

7/20/2011 - Boxing
Amir Khan says that despite his working toward a move up to welterweight, he hasn't lost any speed. Scott Heavey/Getty Images

The WBA considers Amir Khan its current "super" champion at 140 pounds, but on Saturday he will risk his title against a fighter for whom that very word doubles as a nom de guerre: Zab "Super" Judah, the former two-division champ who will make the first defense of his third reign as a 140-pound titlist (IBF). A unification bout in the junior welterweight division -- in a class by itself with names such as Timothy Bradley Jr., Marcos Maidana, Devon Alexander and Lucas Matthysse -- carries significant weight, and the Khan-Judah fight [HBO, 10 p.m. ET] will have to compete in quality and intensity with the many excellent recent matchups between some of those aforementioned outstanding fighters. The clash between a younger, up-and-coming former Olympian and a battle-tested veteran only adds drama to a crossroads fight with all kinds of potential. The fighters' punching power combined with their excellent boxing skills make for an intriguing matchup in which either could hit the canvas at any minute in a 12-round bout. We caught up with Khan during the last days of his training camp, and he shared these thoughts about Saturday's fight:

Tell us about your training for this fight.
Training has gone very well; we trained very hard for this fight. We know what we have to do to avoid making mistakes, because Zab Judah is a very dangerous opponent. He is very tricky, but Freddie [Roach, Khan's trainer] is happy about the way things have gone, and he is very excited about this fight. This is the fight that will make me a bigger name in the division. We can't wait to get in there.

Did you make any adjustments to your conditioning considering that you seemed a little bit more tired toward the end of your last few bouts?
Yes, we worked very hard on the conditioning and stuff, but I think for this fight we will be more than ready. I don't think Zab Judah will be an easy opponent.

You are looking stronger and bigger. Do you think this is going to take away some of your speed?
The speed is always going to be there. I feel a lot quicker -- faster than ever -- and even though I am continuously getting bigger and stronger, the speed is still there.

Is there anything new that we're going to see from you in this fight?
We've been working on fighting a southpaw, and on how to beat a southpaw. We're working on new techniques and new combinations, and on Saturday night I believe you will see some new things, and I believe Zab Judah will be shocked.

You're not a trash-talker. Does that deprive you of a useful tool in the build-up to this fight, or does it actually help you stay focused?
Yes, I am not much of a trash-talker. I let my fists do the talking in the fight. Zab Judah will look stupid for talking trash. I am more of a quiet guy who does what he has to do. I always just let my fists do all the talking.

Is this part of your nature or just a different strategy?
Yes, it is probably more in my nature. I am more of a quiet guy. I don't believe in going around talking like crazy. I don't like this sort of attitude, so I try to stay away from that and not get involved. I just let them talk and then I make them look stupid afterwards.

Tell us your thoughts about Judah as a boxer and as a fighter.
He has a very tricky style. He is a southpaw with a lot of lateral movement, as well as backward movement. He can be very awkward, but he also comes to fight. Sometimes you have to be very careful not to fall into his big shots, because he will try to catch you when you lunge in and he will wait for those mistakes. So we can't make any mistakes, really. But we knew what we had to do, we put in a lot of hard work and a lot of tough sparring, so we're just waiting to get in there and win the fight.

Both you and Judah have reputations for having weak chins. Is this going to be a boxing match or a fight based on punching power?
I think it will be a technical match. I am here to fight. If the fight goes one round or 12 rounds, the most important thing to do is to put on a good show. And I always want to put on a good show for my fans. And I am going to do both -- I am going to fight and box.

How soon are you planning to move up to 147 pounds?
Hopefully, we will beat Zab Judah and we will be moving to 147 in the next year or so. I am taking every fight as it comes, and maybe within a year I will move up to 147.

Is it still important for you to fight Timothy Bradley Jr., or has he fallen too far behind now that you are already calling out Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
I have big goals in my career, and I think my ultimate goal would be to beat the best. Bradley had his chance and he didn't take it, and I think he is scared. So I just have to believe he doesn't want to fight me.

Other than Judah, who else do you have to beat in order to get those big fights?
A lot of people are talking about Erik Morales. A lot of people talk about moving up to 147 and fighting somebody in the top 10. So I don't really mind -- I'm just waiting for whoever they put in front of me, really. I will fight anyone; I never ducked no one.

How do you see Saturday's fight playing out?
It is going to be a tough fight, but we know what to do. We are going to be fast, and we are going to bring in our experience. The experience and the sparring we had in training camp are going to make a difference in the fight. We are going in with no respect and to take the title from him.

Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.