Canelo Khan Fight – LOS ANGELES-Blame it on Donald Trump.
Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) will meet England’s Amir “King” Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) for the WBC middleweight title on May 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. HBO pay-per-view will televise.
Oscar De La Hoya says he was inspired by Republican presidential candidate Trump – who does not want Muslims to enter the U.S. and wants to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants from crossing – in sparking the idea for the match.
“Thank you Trump,” said De La Hoya with a smile.
The president of Golden Boy Promotions had been seeking a willing partner to share the spotlight on Cinco de Mayo weekend with “Canelo” Alvarez. It had to be someone with recognition and respect.
One day while on Twitter, the thought hit him as he looked at political mishmash on the social media outlet and also ran across Khan commenting to others on the site about his own boxing future.
“I was sitting on the couch wondering what could make the biggest event,” De La Hoya said when the idea hit him. “We like thinking outside the box. When has Amir Khan been in a dull fight?”
De La Hoya said he immediately messaged Khan through Twitter and was told by the British prizefighter to give him a little time. Two days later he accepted the fight with Alvarez.
For De La Hoya it’s all about building an event interesting enough to lure fans to Las Vegas or to shell out money for the pay-per-view.
Alvarez was able to attract several thousand fans to Universal City Walk. The first arrivals waited four hours, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, for the fighters to arrive. With Mexican flags in tow and many adorned with Canelo t-shirts, the fans crowded into the staging area anxious to see their hero.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people are here for Canelo,” said Khan, 29.
He wasn’t far off in his estimate.
Post Cotto Win
The Mexican redhead just captured the most significant victory in his career when he defeated Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto last November.
Most sports fans are unaware of the significance of Alvarez’s victory. With the win over Puerto Rico’s best fighter, the Mexican pugilist follows in the footsteps of others like Salvador Sanchez, Julio Cesar Chavez and Ricardo “Finito” Lopez. For Mexican fans, beating a Puerto Rican super star is one of the greatest achievements a Mexican fighter can attain.
Now it’s time for Alvarez to build on that accomplishment and Khan is the first step.
But as De La Hoya kept reminding, the first step could be a misstep.
“Anything can happen,” De La Hoya said. “Amir Khan could throw one of his vicious body punches.”
Is it a mismatch?
Khan does not think so.
“I wouldn’t take this fight if I didn’t think I could win,” said Khan, who had been criticized for not accepting a fight with fellow British welterweight Kell Brook. “This fight has me in the role of the underdog. That’s really motivation for me.”
Few contest that Khan is one of the speediest prizefighters in the world today above 135 pounds. For years his blinding combinations have bewildered and pummeled opponents throughout his amateur and professional career.
But can he defeat Alvarez who is accustomed to fighting near 155 pounds, the bare minimum weight allowed for a middleweight fight?
“I’m naturally a 147-pound welterweight,” admitted Khan. “This fight at middleweight could not work out for me so well.”
Canelo Alvarez was not too bold about his own capabilities. Almost as if he did not want to set himself up for absolute failure.
“People can say whatever they want, that’s my problem,” said a testy Alvarez, 25, when asked about fighting the thinner looking Khan. “I will prepare hard for Amir Khan; I’m not going to underestimate him.”
Enough intrigue remains for fans to want to see this fight. Also, for most fans in the Southwest region it’s an opportunity to crack open some beers and celebrate Cinco de Mayo while watching a prizefight.
For De La Hoya it all fits perfectly.
“Canelo’s Mexican and Khan is Muslim,” said De La Hoya about Trump’s sideways contribution to the matching. “Let me just say, let’s thank Donald Trump for making this fight happen because we are getting a Mexican and Muslim together to have this fight on Cinco de Mayo!”