Canelo-Khan – Boxing fans, if you haven’t grasped it by now you’ve been asleep at the wheel. The signing of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 46-1-1 (32) and Amir Khan 31-3 (19) for May 7th should confirm it beyond all doubt…boxing is a business first, above all else. No, that’s not taking anything away from the fighters, they’re without a doubt some of the toughest and in many instances the nicest people you’ll ever meet. However, none of them fight strictly for the fun of it. Granted, they love mixing it up but it’s not something they’d do with regularity if there wasn’t a ton of money to be made for them down the road if they’re blessed to be good enough.
When I first heard of the Alvarez-Khan fight being made, I thought, what a joke. Khan should consider himself lucky if he goes the distance and isn’t bludgeoned into submission by Alvarez. It’s another one of those bouts that has a catch-weight stipulation attached to it with the hope of adding legitimacy to the fight. In reality the catch-weight clause actually makes it a bigger farce.
Canelo’s middleweight belt on the line in a 155 lb catch-weight bout versus maybe the fifth best welterweight in the world is a joke, but it’s boxing and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. The fight is on PPV so if you are that offended by it, don’t purchase it. There’s not a chance in the world the sometimes brittle Khan can stand up to the hard punching Alvarez who Khan probably couldn’t hurt if Canelo stood right in front of him with his hands down and gave him a free shot, or two.
For boxing fans who long to see action-packed give-and-take bouts, the fight is a disaster. But for Alvarez and Khan, it makes all the dollars and sense in the world…as long as you don’t lose sight of the fact the professional boxing, like the NFL and NBA, is a business first.
The matchup is perfect for Canelo because he’ll earn a ton of money in a walkover while waiting for the Golovkin fight to be made. Khan has a name and skills, but he lacks the strength to challenge or hurt Alvarez. Amir’s advantage in hand speed will be a non-factor once the bell rings. In the other corner Khan gets a huge payday in a high profile bout where no expectations are placed on him, and where he has a built-in excuse if he gets taken apart. Khan probably won’t get counted out because the referee, or his corner, will stop the fight before he takes a terrible beating. Afterwards he can legitimately say “one hundred and fifty-five pounds was too much for me; I’ll do better against Kell Brook at my natural weight.” And Khan versus Kell Brook would be huge in England and serve as Brook’s coming out party.
These types of bouts are made because the powers that be know enough fans will buy them for the promoter to turn a profit and serve as a stepping stone for the next big fight involving the winner. If you are planning to watch Alvarez-Khan, it’s not because you want to find out who is going to win, it can’t be, because you already know that. No, the reason you’ll watch is because you want to see if Canelo really can clean his clock. And if he does, you’ll say “he only did what he was supposed to do” – and if the fight goes the distance and Alvarez only wins by decision, he’ll be labeled a bum. But the promoters couldn’t care less about what you think because they know when he fights again you’ll be in line throwing your money down to see him.
Canelo vs. Khan is a very good business maneuver for the fighters, but it’s a pending disaster for boxing fans. The odds are the fight won’t be competitive and there’s no intrigue as to who is going to win. In fact I’ll say it, there is no way in the world that Khan can beat Alvarez unless there’s a sniper in the venue and Canelo isn’t aware of it. What we have in Alvarez-Khan is another high profile bout that’s great for business and terrible for boxing.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com