sport

De la Hoya: Khan still top billing

Oscar de la Hoya believes "people's champion" Amir Khan remains one of the biggest draws in boxing, despite his current run of form.

Khan tops the bill in America again this weekend, despite losing his last two fights, as he tries to get back to winning ways against unbeaten Carlos Molina in Los Angeles.

The Briton expressed his gratitude to De la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and American television giant Showtime this week after they stuck by him, but the promoter insists such faith is justified because of Khan's fan-friendly style.

"Amir Khan is still Amir Khan," the legendary former six-weight world champion said.

"He's a tremendous fighter and I've always said to people he is a fighter.

"He fights with heart and passion, that's why people love watching him fight and why he generates huge numbers on big television networks. The guy fights till the end, whether he finishes on the short end or wins in spectacular fashion the way he did against Marcos Maidana and some of his other wins.

"But also the losses are tremendous fights. Amir is the people's champion."

For all his admiration, De la Hoya knows Khan needs to get the victory against Molina.

"Amir must win," he said. "He must win because people are saying if he loses against Carlos Molina he must consider not fighting on the big stage again. But I don't believe that.

"Having Virgil Hunter in his corner now, a trainer teaching him the fundamentals of defence and how to move his head and block punches, I believe this new trainer will really change his style and turn his career around.

"But Molina absolutely has a chance of causing the upset. He's no pushover. I know him personally and he's actually a good fighter who is hungry, coming in with everything and training like there's no tomorrow.

"This is his chance to shine and it's up to Amir Khan to let him shine or not let him fight.

"It's sink or swim for both guys."