Canelo throws the punch before the feint

05/09/2016 - By Paul Strauss - Comments

The stunning one punch ending came as no surprise. Most of the experts felt Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-1-1, 33KO) would kayo Amir “King” Khan Saturday night at the new T-Mobile Area, Las Vegas, NV. All the hoopla concerning speed versus power only goes so far, especially with a stronger fighter who can box.

For the first three rounds, Khan circled, and dodged, darted and held, with speedy combinations mixed in for good measure. He landed some good one-two’s, but with little effect. When he fired off multi-punch combinations, his right foot would come off the canvas. He was like a frightened bird in flight.

Canelo was content working to cut off potential avenues of escape, knowing that sooner or later he would slow down his prey and get him where he wanted. Beginning in the fourth round, his plan seemed to be working. Khan’s movement was less frantic, and the slow down was not so much by design, but more from Canelo’s hard right hands to the body. The wallops landed with a whomp, leaving a rosy red blotch on Khan’s left side.

Beyond the visible red spot, the punches did a more important job. They tenderized Khan’s body. More and more, he tried to protect himself from the impact. His guard started to drop, which was just what Canelo wanted. He was patient though, and wanted Khan’s reaction to become even more pronounced. He continued his ring generalship, maneuvering his quarry into the proper position, confident that Khan was going to do what he wanted.

Most analysts felt Canelo set up the knockout blow by first feinting with a left jab. However, the move that really set up the kayo, was Canelo’s body movement when landing the body shots. Specifically, the fake occurred when he dropped down, mimicking the path his body took when he threw the right to the body. It was that movement that got Khan to lower his guard in an attempt to protect his side and midsection from more punishment. That attempt made to shield and protect his body obviously left his chin exposed.

Canelo got the exact reaction he wanted. So, instead of once again going to the body, he unleashed a powerful overhand right that landed flush on Khan’s chin. Khan’s body went limp. He was out on his feet. His arms dropped to his sides, and he fell over backwards, reminiscent of Ricky Hatton when nailed by Manny Pacquiao. More damage was done when Khan’s head hit the canvas and bounced up like a rubber ball. There was no need for referee Kenny Bayless to say the fight was over. It was obvious.

In the post-fight interview, Canelo emphasized the knockout didn’t just happen because he was more powerful. He reminded everyone that he too is a good boxer, and the unspoken lesson to learned was before a feint can create the desired reaction, it must first be preceded by a punch. It can’t be an idle threat. In Canelo’s case, it first was necessary to land the right hand to the body (several times). That way the feint came in mimicking the body movement used to land the right to the body, which forced Khan into thinking he needed to protect himself from another punishing body blow. Hands down, chin exposed, and it was all she wrote

Sergio Martinez pulled off a similar move against Paul Williams. Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios did it to Mike “Mile High” Alvardo. Rocky Marciano did it to several guys. The important lesson is to first land the punch before the feint. Fight often start out with feints, but the feint won’t before effective until the faked punch is actually landed. Without the preceding action, a fighter won’t get the proper reaction.