Will Amir “King” Khan be able to knock out Saul “Canelo” Alvarez?
The announcement made by the Welterweight champion Amir Khan that he will face the Mexican superstar Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez on May 7, 2016, shocked the entire boxing world.
This will see the former World Champion jump from Welterweight to Middleweight in an attempt to make history by winning the World Middleweight Title.
The reason it caught us off guard was due to the two front runners fighting Khan, one being WBC Welterweight World Champion, Danny Garcia. Back in 2012, Garcia stopped Khan in four rounds, when both competed as Light-Welterweights. The other route was to take on Kell Brook in an all British super-fight for Kell’s Welterweight World title (IBF version).
Khan’s last fight was in May, when he snubbed Brook’s offer and took on the underwhelming Chris Algieri, as an interim fight to wait on Manny Pacquiao, by sitting out the rest of the year.
The move was a disappointment for many of his hard core fans, including myself. Staunch critics labelled this a duck, because there wasn’t any guarantee that Pacquiao would face Khan as his last opponent in boxing. Turning down Brook for Algieri made no sense, because it would decrease his chances of winning the World title.
The gamble did backfire when Pacquiao chose Tim Bradley. With the looming risk of Khan becoming a forgotten name in the world of boxing, he was required to make an impactful comeback. So, Garcia and Brook were the front runners, but Khan also had an ace up his sleeve, as his team was in secret negotiations with Canelo’s people, before the deal was finalised in a move that redeemed Khan’s position in boxing and was a source of bragging rights for people like me.
The fight was a shut up call for critics who claimed Khan was ducking Brook, by taking on a man bigger in size and accomplishments. The Bolton native of Pakistani descent left the comforts of England for competing in the US. He walked through fire in order to beat Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and Devon Alexander to cement his name in the industry.
I’ve noticed that Brook has never been subjected to the same level of scrutiny as Khan. Despite being 35-0, he just has one good name on his record for beating Shawn Porter for the belt. It’s another story if it’s due to reasons outside the boxing field.
This bout will be contested at a catch weight of 155lbs and has no re-hydration clause, so after weighing the mandatory 155lbs a night before, both men can re-hydrate to the weight they desire. This puts the smaller Amir Khan at a significant disadvantage, who can’t re-hydrate as high as Alvarez. I believe Khan will find himself in a helpless state, where his punches won’t have the same effect as those of Canelo’s on him, this will wear Amir down as the fight goes on. I agree with Khan’s assessment that his speed and movement will be the key in negating his opponent’s advantage as Canelo has struggled with guys like Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara because they don’t just stand there and trade punches with him. Then again, Khan isn’t as technical as either of the two.
Realistically speaking, I’m aware of the way this fight will turn out to be; Khan will box well for the first four or five rounds and give Canelo trouble with his jab and movement. Eventually, Alvarez will catch on and if he manages to hit Khan with a shot that wobbles him, he – unlike any fighter Amir has fought – is a punishing finisher and won’t allow Khan to remain in the ring, like he did versus Maidana. Also, given the size difference, it will be difficult to sustain the barrage of punishment from Alvarez.
Now 36 minutes is a long time to not make a mistake and I don’t see the macho Khan not getting drawn in a brawl at some point to his disadvantage.
So, I predict a knockout loss for Khan in the later rounds. However, history is usually made by doing the impossible.
Does Khan have a chance? Absolutely!
How big? Not very.
What we need to remember is that we have seen Khan win when he had a point to prove, and his back was against the wall.
This is one of those situations.
On the plus side, I don’t think a loss will end Khan’s career, as his profile will only be raised and he can walk in another lucrative bout at Welterweight against guys like Brook and Garcia.
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