Khan entering choppy waters
Amir Khan referred to himself as a businessman quite a few times during our conversation a few weeks back, so I've been more than a little surprised by his rather unbusinesslike behaviour of late.
Racy magazine interviews with Piers Morgan, allegations of lewd texts and photos (allegations that haven't been denied), Twitter attacks on fellow British boxers - it's hardly surprising somebody's belatedly told him to switch his gadgets off.
"There are no distractions and I can focus a bit easier," the 23-year-old Khan told BBC Sport ahead of his US debut and WBA light-welterweight defence against Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday.
Khan and Malignaggi fight at Madison Square Garden theatre on Saturday
"When I get time off in the evening I go to the mall or the pictures or chill out with a walk on the beach or the promenade. You can't do that in Bolton.
"The normal public over here don't know me whereas back in England it's different. Over here I'm left alone and I can do the things I want to do."
Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, this isn't a snide attack on a fine British talent - boys will be boys, especially when they're millionaire sportsboys, and how many of us wish we were one of them? But you have to wonder about the advice he's been getting, if any, since he upped sticks and made his permanent base in the United States.
When Khan talks of "being pulled left, right and centre" back in the UK, perhaps he's referring to his former promoter Frank Warren's hand on the tiller, the sort of steady hand that appears to have been lacking of late.
Khan says he split from Warren in January purely for boxing reasons, calling Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions an outfit capable of taking him "to the next level", and with feted trainer Freddie Roach in his corner and five-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao as a gym-mate, you can't really question his logic.
"Maybe Frank could have taken me to the next level, but I think I need someone with American experience," said Khan, who fights former world champion Malignaggi at New York's Madison Square Garden, although not in the main arena, but the theatre next door.
"There are no hard feelings [towards Warren], it's a business, and I'm sure Frank treats it as a business. I thought the best move was to leave Frank and come to America, so that's what I did. You can't just make moves to keep friendships.
"The biggest fights are over here and once you're recognised as a great fighter in America you're recognised as a great fighter all over the world."
Khan calls Roach, whose comforting arms he fell into following the shocking 54-second defeat at the hands of Breidis Prescott in 2008, a "father figure" and says he's "one of the main reasons I've got so far in the game".
The evidence so far suggests Roach has made Khan a more complete fighter, adding a cool head and a tighter defence to the heavy-hitting and blistering speed that already existed.
Yet the doubts about Khan will remain until he steps into the ring with one of the 140lb division's bigger punchers. Kevin Mitchell, who fights Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim lightweight crown in London earlier on Saturday, has accused his domestic rival of running scared, but it is a charge Khan vehemently denies.
"I was going to fight Marcos Maidana [Khan's mandatory challenger, who has 28 wins and 27 knockouts from 29 fights], but it's a business and the money just wasn't coming off," said Khan, who has just one defeat in 22.
Juan Manuel Marquez pulled out a week after we started negotiating, and then came Malignaggi, who can sell a fight and who's a bigger name than Maidana in America.
"But the only way to prove the critics wrong is to fight the winner of Maidana and [WBC title-holder] Timothy Bradley [who are due to meet later this year], that would be a big fight for me and that would shut a lot of critics up."
There are certainly an awful lot of critics to silence, not least the motor-mouthed Malignaggi, who claims the champion is his most hated opponent as well voicing concerns about performance-enhancing drugs being used in the sport. For the record Khan said he would be happy to be tested at any time.
And whereas the Khan of a few months ago might have shrugged and trotted out something about doing his fighting in the ring, or some such platitude, the new, flintier Khan is bristling with intent.
"A lot of people want to see him beat properly because he keeps shouting his mouth off," said Khan. "I'll sort him out and be the guy to take him out of the sport."
This brasher version of Khan might not appeal to some, but being humble and squeaky clean earned him the opprobrium of many back in his homeland. Booed when he was winning, laughed at when he lost, two more reasons to fly the nest.
Khan should have too much power for the light-punching Malignaggi, despite the American's claims he is a rejuvenated fighter since losing handily to Manchester's Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas in 2008.
After Saturday night the waters will become frothier, with American paymasters HBO looking to match him hard and his rivals, no doubt envious of this upstart in their midst, keen to cash in on the back of his fame. Let's hope those close to him can keep him on the straight and narrow, in and out of the ring.