Amir Khan vs Canelo Alvarez – When the match between WBC middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico and Amir “King” Khan of Great Britain was announced a collective double gasp of surprise was let out around the world.
First, because Khan had refused Kell Brook. Second, because Khan is taking on literally a bigger challenge.
Fans in the United Kingdom had been riding Khan as some kind of coward. He’s anything but that.
“I’ve really lost only two fights in my career,” said Khan. “This is the first time I’m the underdog.”
Alvarez defends the WBC middleweight title against Khan in the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 7. It’s the classic scenario of power versus speed but it’s much more than that. It’s two elite prizefighters.
Khan has won world titles as a super lightweight, competed as a welterweight and now he’s leapfrogging all the way to middleweight. Only elite prizefighters are capable of even contemplating that feat.
Fans already are poo-pooing the fight as another Bolton Massacre with Khan having no chance whatsoever. Bolton incidentally is where Khan calls home. Back in 1644, Royalist troops massacred hundreds of its denizens.
This is prizefighting. Anything can happen.
“I wouldn’t take this fight if I didn’t think I could win,” said Khan.
Who can forget Buster Douglas knocking out the seemingly unbeatable Mike Tyson? Or what about Hasim Rahman surprisingly stopping Lennox Lewis in South Africa? Ok, those are heavyweights, what about Paul Malignaggi nearly defeating Adrien Broner? The world called me crazy for predicting Malignaggi would give Broner fits a few years ago. The Brooklyn Italian nearly hung a loss on Broner if not for some sketchy scoring.
Khan has the tools to give Alvarez great pause when they meet. This is not a club fighter moving up two divisions. This is one of the fastest prizefighters on the planet. More than one journalist outside of England knows that speed and movement can trouble the not-so-nimble Alvarez; though the Mexican redhead has improved dramatically in every phase of the fight games since starting his pro career at 15 years old.
Mexico’s Alvarez will and should be the favorite to win. He’s bigger, stronger and hits harder than the more slender Khan. But speed-wise those blistering combinations zipping in from the Bolton boxer can make even the most experienced fighter wince.
People forget that Khan defeated Marcos Maidana one of the more dangerous fighters around. That fight stays fresh in my mind as a clear display of what his speed can accomplish against a slugger.
“I’m not underestimating Amir Khan,” said Alvarez who seemed perturbed by the media’s labeling it an easy fight.
I wouldn’t bet the house on Alvarez, especially those picking a win by knockout. Khan has plenty of weapons to use.
That left hook to the body put Maidana down and made Zab Judah quit when they met. Sure Miguel Cotto was unable to score on Canelo with that body shot, but this is the much faster Khan.
“Khan can throw one vicious body shot,” said Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya who knows a thing or two about the subject.
Anything can happen when two elite fighters meet in the ring.
Remember Roberto Duran had no problem beating welterweights including Carlos Palomino and Sugar Ray Leonard when he moved up two weight divisions.
Don’t bet the house.