The moment Virgil Hunter saw Amir Khan walking into the gym with his own bag, the American trainer began to believe that his British boxer could cause one of the ring's huge problems.
Khan is a huge underdog for his world welterweight title challenge for the esteemed and undefeated Terence Crawford here at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Hunter believes that part of the reason for a major inequality in betting odds is that one of his most gifted hunters has lost touch with reality for a while. The look of Khan who stands up to train with his bag over his shoulder and alone, without one of his old entourage, has changed that perception.
Trainer Virgil Hunter is convinced that Amir Khan's new humility can help him build a surprise
& # 39; Amir is incredibly talented & # 39 ;, Hunter says. & # 39; But I think he was too early. He came to the gym surrounded by friends and distractions. Now he just comes with his equipment.
& # 39; If you have your own bag with you in this game, you are your own person. He has now found himself and we are going into the garden to win; to surprise one of the top two pound-for-pound hunters in the world today. & # 39;
Khan & # 39; s reaction to his trainer's assessment is fascinating: & Wow, did Virgil actually say that when I walked in? Well, carrying the bag is a symbol. & # 39;
The 32-year-old is a huge underdog for the esteemed and undefeated Terence Crawford
He acknowledged how some excesses of a fabulously enriched youth triggered public criticism – but now he has found humility.
In his adulthood, at the age of 32, he looks back on how he became a teenage millionaire by winning his Olympic silver medal in 2004, after which he quickly discovered more fame and wealth as a double world champion.
& # 39; Maybe five or six years ago I was the boy who had everything very young & # 39 ;, says Khan. & # 39; But now I have seen a major change in my attitude. & # 39;
Young Khan got into trouble with the police for his high speeds and he says: Looking back, I wonder why I did some things.
& # 39; But I had signed a large money contract at the age of 19. I love cars & watches and suddenly I could pay them.
The American believes for a time that one of his most talented hunters has lost touch with reality
& # 39; At such a young age it can reach you. I might have come across as stubborn because I wanted to show how hard I had worked to get these things. But I hate that a lot. Hopefully I have started to change a lot of people.
& # 39; Many who meet me for the first time are surprised that I am sitting with both feet on the floor. That comes with taking over my life.
& # 39; If you have a large team, you start to trust other people. But that is in contradiction with entering the ring, taking big punches and having to dig deep – all alone.
& # 39; I left everything else with family and advisors, but now I manage my whole life; take care of all matters. That makes you a bigger man. Even if you go to work every day surrounded by other Olympic and world champions, you learn to be humble. Maybe that is why more people love me now. & # 39;
Hunter recognizes the change: & # 39; Amir told people in his ear how wonderful he was.
Khan does not doubt the challenge he faces in front of Crawford in Madison Square Garden
& # 39; He had great prizes and performances. He thought he had arrived, but once you do, there is a danger that you will stop working to reach the top. The illusion of the moment can help you stop ahead, which is the whole key in this sport. He did not realize that he had not yet fulfilled himself. & # 39;
Could that be against 31-year-old Crawford, the No. 2 rated hunter in the world who finds himself even better than the No. 1 pound-for-pounder, Ukrainian lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko?
If Khan joins the Elite ranks of the triple world champion, it will be a fight that Hunter advised against, despite suffering that thundering knockout of Mexican Canelo Alvarez in May 2016.
Khan has been rebuilt since the madness to move two weight classes to the middleweight to expose his supposedly vulnerable chin to one of the most powerful punchers.
Crawford and Khan pose for the cameras prior to their WBO world welterweight title fight
Hunter says: & # 39; It broke my heart to see him lying there. It was a big setback that was not necessary. He was on a pitch and had won big fights and won more titles at light welter and welterweight.
& # 39; He now tells me that he didn't really want to fight Canelo, but he is proud and didn't want people to think he was scared.
& # 39; Even then he boxed brilliantly and won the fight until he was caught with that huge right hand. & # 39;
Learned another lesson, the hard way. One that might help Khan against Crawford, who only recently came out of the light box to add the WBO welterweight belt to his impressive collection.
Khan v Crawford is live at BT Sport Box Office late on Saturday evening.
Information at bt.com/btsportboxoffice