Belfast Telegraph

Boxing: Breen’s plan in place to end reign of Khan

By David Kelly

Plotting the downfall of Amir Khan would not seem like an easy task but John Breen is convinced he has the plan in place and the fighter to execute it on April 16.

Breen has been closely examining DVDs of WBA light-welterweight champion Khan ahead of Paul McCloskey’s big chance at the MEN Arena as well as making sure the unbeaten Dungiven man knows exactly what is required to pull off one of the biggest wins in the history of Irish boxing.

Having trained numerous champions, Breen knows all about honing a fighter for the moment of truth and is convinced that southpaw McCloskey has the tools to dethrone Khan — an overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers.

Breen said: “Everybody is asking me about how it feels to be the underdog but in my eyes Paul is the favourite because I know that he can beat Amir Khan. I have always felt that and nothing has changed.

“A lot of people seem to feel that Khan has improved but the only thing that I can see where he has developed is in his defence. That has improved since he went to America to train with Freddie Roach.

“But, having watched a lot of his fights you can see that he is still vulnerable. In his last fight he almost got stopped by Marcos Maidana and if he had been stopped by the referee in the 10th round nobody would have argued.

“Credit to him he stuck in there and took the shots and won the fight but you can see that he is still vulnerable. You can do all the training and conditioning you like but you can’t put muscle on the chin.

“I couldn’t be more confident about this fight. Paul has never been as strong, he has done everything that has been asked of him and by the time of the fight he will have sparred around 125 rounds.”

Along with assistant coach Eamonn Magee, Breen has been masterminding the challenger’s strategy and at the same time he knows that Khan’s legendary coach Freddie Roach will have his own game plan on how to handle McCloskey.

The Belfast man believes it will not only be a battle between the men in in the ring but those in the respective corners.

“Freddie Roach is regarded as the best coach in the world and it’s easy to see why because he has a lot of the best fighters in the world so you know that he will have been trying to work out how Khan can beat Paul,” added Breen.

“So, when Paul beats Khan it will be like a world title win for me — beating the trainer seen as the best in the world.

“The one thing that Khan has is speed. It’s his speed that makes him a world class fighter, that’s why he has got to where he is so it’s up to Paul to deal with that and he will.

“And once Khan realises that his speed is not working, that he can’t catch Paul the way he wants to, then what he can do after that that?

“Khan doesn’t have a plan B , so he’s going to be in big trouble.

“I’ve been told that Khan has been sparring plenty of southpaws but there’s no way he has had any southpaw like Paul.

“Paul has his own style and anybody who fights him knows how hard he is to deal with.

“I can’t wait for the fight to come around because it’s going to be such a great occasion.”

McCloskey has been with Breen from the day he turned professional six years ago, having the amateur traits ironed out along the way to British and European titles.

He is in no doubt the impact the Belfast man has had on his development from rookie to world title challenger and had the final word of the matter of Breen v Roach.

“They may say Freddie Roach is the best in the world but I wouldn’t swap John Breen for Freddie Roach,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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