Canelo Crushed Khan – Last night’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Amir Khan HBO pay-per-view had all the bells and whistles of the potential biggest fight of the year. Golden Boy Promotions and HBO both made sure that Vegas glitz and celebrity star power were all around the fight throughout the week’s build-up.
The new venue, the T-Mobile Arena, added to the atmosphere. The venue truly put on a “show” on hosting their first big prizefight, including a free boxing show on the eve of the big event at the arena’s Toshiba Plaza extension, an event that aired on Estrella TV. The new building gets high grades on all accounts.
And you have to give some credit to Amir Khan. That he should not have been in the fight in the first place has already been talked about ad nauseum, but once the bell rang the kid tried his best.
To my eyes, Amir Khan was not as quick as he was at lighter weights. Though that was to be expected, it was not what his camp was saying before the fight. Khan’s real quickness prior to the weight gain was in his hands, and he was not the same. The added power Khan said would come with the extra weight was not apparent either, as a grim-faced Alvarez took Khan’s punches without much difficulty.
But all that aside, he displayed skills, winning the first three rounds on one of the scorecards with his savvy boxing. He was moving well and frustrating Alvarez at times. Canelo stayed composed, but the frustration could be seen when he threw several roundhouse-type haymakers, literally swinging to take Khan’s head clean off. It also showed in Alvarez’s refusal to touch gloves with Khan after a referee break, as Khan was getting the better of the fight at that point.
But heading into round five, Alvarez was looking more resolute, and Khan was beginning to tire just a bit. Round six saw Khan beginning to fray around the edges. He was sloppier, and he was not maintaining the distance as well as earlier in the fight. Khan made it interesting in the first few rounds, but It was only a matter of time.
Late in the sixth the moment came. Alvarez uncorked the big right hand and it landed flush. It was the Mexican superstar’s first really meaningful punch of the fight and it turned Khan’s lights out in a big way.
In the post-fight press conferences Oscar De La Hoya and Alvarez mouthed the usual catch phrases about “fighting anybody.” One interesting exchange had a reporter bringing up Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez stating that Alvarez didn’t have the “balls” to fight Triple G. Alvarez calmly offered to let Sanchez touch them, to prove they are there.
But the feel-good buzz of the win does not hide the nerves GBP is feeling. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may be the biggest draw in boxing in 2016, but he is no Floyd Mayweather Jr. Oscar’s smiles look a little more forced than usual these days.
The pay-per-view numbers may go a long way to determining what the boxing public is offered by GBP in the future. If the sales were good, say northward of a million, then you will have Golden Boy and Alvarez continue to invoke their perceived privileges – catch weights and all.
And if the sales are north of seven figures, the future becomes pretty clear. The presence of David Lemieux against a solid regional-level talent in Glen Tapia was no mere coincidence. Last October, De La Hoya was part of the promotion of the Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux fight and you can see the glimmer of an idea in Oscar’s fervor hyping Lemieux back then. Of course, Golovkin served the Canadian up like a filet, but this spot on HBO’s pay-per-view was a rehab job for the Canadian slugger, whose 30-plus KO wins look great on paper. DLH crony Bernard Hopkins almost came right out and said it. He stated Canelo has a lot of options. Option number one will be David Lemeiux if this pay-per-view does well.
But what if the pay-per-view sales are closer to 600,000? That could be a problem for GBP’s plans.
Khan was supposed to be a big buy, a major draw. And certainly Khan does talk a good game; he may be the most social media savvy fighter in all of boxing. Word coming from Vegas is that the British presence numbered about 3,000 total heads, a good number. But do not be fooled into thinking this was the British invasion that followed Ricky Hatton around roughly a decade ago. Khan is no Ricky Hatton.
So a buy of around 600k means that GBP and Alvarez will be faced with a dilemma. A lower than expected figure with the supposed draw in Khan could make them re-think their next opponent. At this point, Alvarez is unlikely to go back and fight on a non pay-per-view event, but frankly that is all a Lemieux fight may warrant.
As for Khan, he did not attend the post-fight press conference as he was being tended to medically as a precaution. But Khan has already taken to social media and stated he will be heading back down to the welterweight division. The critics have died down because after all was said and done, he gave a commendable effort. In losing, Khan may be the biggest winner to emerge from this weekend’s fight.