Freddie Roach believes Amir Khan 33-4 (20) can shock Terrence Crawford 34-0 (25) providing he can avoid the back habits that have seen him knocked out in three of his four losses.
The 32-year-old Khan, a one-time pupil of coach Roach, will challenge the unbeaten American for his WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
Roach praised Khan’s boxing ability but cautioned that the mental side of his game may let him down.
“If Amir can stick to the gameplay and box for 12 rounds he can do really, really well because he is a great boxer,” Roach said to Boxing Social.
“He has all the skill in the world and he has a lot of speed, but at some point he will go for the knockout and when he does that he gets himself in harm’s way and gets knocked out.”
Khan was knocked down three times by Danny Garcia en route to a fourth round stoppage loss seven years ago in a fight that was even on the cards at the time.
An ill-advised move up in weight to face Mexican powerhouse Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the WBC middleweight championship resulted in a savage one-punch knockout loss despite Khan winning some of the early rounds.
“In all the fights he’s been knocked out, he’s been ahead. He’s a very good boxer, he’s very good at what he does but he has that block in his head,” Roach continued.
“He goes for the knockout but in this sport you can’t go for the knockout; if it comes, it comes, don’t force it.
“Terence Crawford is a good fighter but the thing is, the speed factor alone is too much for him. Amir has better speed and footwork but he has to put them together and be at his best. He has to win every round one at a time.
“But I believe Amir will be knocked out somewhere along the way because he has bad habits.”