Announced yesterday evening (UK time), the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Amir Khan fight for May 7th in Las Vegas instantly became THE talking point in boxing. Fans and experts alike were shocked and, most of them, pleasantly surprised when confirmation of the fight broke. Yes, there are some critics who, amazingly, still refuse to give Khan credit for taking this, surely the riskiest of gambles, yet most rational thinking people are giving Khan the props he deserves for daring to be great.
Not too many experts, or fans, are seemingly in the mood to give the former 140-pound champion a shot at actually winning on Cinco de Mayo weekend; most people seeming to feel Khan’s lightning speed will see him off to a good start, with the 29-year-old winning rounds, before Alvarez’ strength, weight (speaking of weight, Khan says he expects to weigh around 165-pounds on the night for the 155-pound catch-weight bout) and power catches up with the former Olympian. But some experts – such as fellow fighter Adrien Broner, are giving Khan a good chance of winning. Another is retired super-middleweight warrior Carl Froch.
Writing for Sky Sports, for whom “The Cobra” is now a pundit, Froch had the following comments:
“You’ve got to give Amir Khan credit for taking such a dangerous, dangerous fight,” Froch wrote today. “I was as surprised as anyone when on Tuesday night I found out that he’d be taking on Saul Alvarez but the more I think about it, he can definitely pull off an even bigger shock and win. To take Canelo on – at least ten-pounds up in weight – deserves the utmost respect and for the fans it will be a great fight. For Khan, it will be a huge risk but I honestly think he can win this.
“If Khan uses his speed and his range and stays on his toes for the full 12 rounds, he has a real chance. He has great boxing ability – we know that. If he does get caught on the way in, you’ve got to say he’s in trouble. He is moving up another weight division and Canelo is a big puncher, so it is massively dangerous. In the past I have been very critical of Khan not having a chin but I remember that fight he had with Marcos Maidana and he took some proper heavy shots in that one and came through. I might be one of the few that is giving Khan a chance but you have got to respect him.”
Respect is seemingly a key word whenever anyone talks about Khan and this upcoming fight, and Khan does indeed deserve plenty. But does Canelo? Some critics have moaned about the world middleweight king, taking on, in his first defence, a welterweight. What is to be gained for Canelo? Still, the main talk is of what Khan can do in the fight and what chance he has of actually winning. Speed will likely prove to be a big factor, and in the past Canelo has had trouble with opponents who had great speed – and there is no-one faster, with his hands, than Khan. How much, if any, of this speed Khan loses at the higher weight could prove crucial.
Maybe, as Froch suggests, Khan can box the absolute perfect fight and shock the world with a points win. A KO over the hard-headed Mexican superstar would be up there with Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson! But Can Khan, a fighter who has been dragged into many a war during his exciting career, show the discipline needed to box a masterpiece? With trainer Virgil Hunter guiding him, Khan might have an outside chance of doing just that.
But as much credit as Khan deserves for taking this fight, Canelo has to be down as a very big favourite to win. But as long as Khan is not blown away in quick time, if he can win some rounds and put up a good challenge, what will he really lose? Khan can always drop back down to 147-pounds and engage in some big fights there. But as to what will happen if Khan does win – could Floyd Mayweather be tempted out of retirement to face the Brit? Would Khan go down as a true great……
Let’s not get carried away to much!