In a move that has stunned the boxing world, Amir Khan has signed to fight Mexican poster boy Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on the 7th of May in Las Vegas. The fight will be for Canelo’s WBC middleweight title albeit at a catch weight of 155 pounds. This is 5 pounds below the middleweight limit, so not quite the jump of 2 weight divisions that some headlines will have you believe.
Even still this is a huge risk for Khan and a total surprise, no mention of this fight ever taking place had previously been made. Until last week talk was still focussed on a fight with Sheffield rival Kell Brook. Khan should be applauded for taking such a risk but his team must be aware that on fight night the weight difference between the two combatants will be enormous, as Alvarez usually fights at around 175 pounds.
It is no secret that Khan has mesmerising hand speed and true boxing aficionado’s will appreciate how this potent weapon can trouble any fighter. He also has Virgil Hunter in his corner, arguably the greatest coach in the world- so Khan does have a chance. As a Khan fan i am hoping that these positive attributes will assist him in his battle against the Mexican star. However in his last fight with a very game and explosive (but not heavy handed) Chris Algieri Khan was visibly rocked on numerous occasions and was caught too often from Algieri’s over-hand right. Against a powerful hitter like Canelo he will not get away with such defensive frailties.
The only major negative result of this astonishing announcement is that the long awaited showdown with Kell Brook will never happen. The reasons being: If Khan wins; then he is the middleweight champion of the world and would be inclined to defend his belt; if Khan loses then he would have four losses on his record and Brook would gain nothing from fighting someone with no world title verging on damaged goods.
The powerful Canelo has walked through most of his opponents losing only to “the best ever” Floyd Mayweather, but crucially struggled with the very slick and quick Cuban Erislandy Lara. These two fights will probably be the ones that Hunter will focus on, the clues to a Khan victory may lie somewhere in those two contests. The major difference being however that Lara is an awkward southpaw whilst Khan boxes out of an orthodox stance.
A lot of whispers will highlight how Khan is avoiding Kell Brook, but flip the coin- Canelo is avoiding Gennady Golovkin “GGG.” The Golden Boy representatives were probably only too happy to land a big name opponent that diverted attention away from the Kazakh unified middleweight holder.
Khan is often derided for his previous losses and splits opinion. All great fighters lose however and there is no shame in his record, it would be fair to assume that some fans, not all, dislike him for his religious loyalties. Something that is totally irrelevant and a completely unfair way of judging a sportsman. Khan does a huge amount for charity that rarely gets reported on and is technically a fantastic fighter. Disregard your ignorant views and support him because Amir needs all the help he can get with this dangerous assignment.