The boxing world was rocked the other week with the announcement that Britain’s Amir Khan will challenge Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the WBC World middleweight title on 7th May in Las Vegas.
There isn’t anyone in the boxing world who hasn’t been talking about this match-up, which is intriguing for many reasons. Firstly, the fight will see ‘King’ Khan stepping up two weight divisions, from welterweight (147lbs) to a middleweight catch-weight of 155lbs. Secondly, it was widely expected that Khan would finally agree terms on a mouth-watering domestic clash with long-time rival Kell Brook. And finally, the fight was kept under wraps and nobody saw it coming.
It is the biggest and ballsiest move that Khan could possibly have made. Team Khan, Golden Boy and boxing’s mystery kingpin Al Haymon have finally been able to deliver Amir Khan the superfight that he has craved for the past 3 years. Overlooked by Floyd Mayweather twice and by former stablemate Manny Pacquiao, there is no bigger name in the sport than the man affectionately known as ‘Canelo’.
With a likeable personality, good looks and a crowd-pleasing style that has endeared him to fans in his native Mexico and now the world over, Canelo is a global superstar. And he’s only 25. Having turned pro at 15 years old, he has racked up an impressive 48 fights on his way to an impeccable 16 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, record. That sole loss coming at the hands of the recently retired ‘TBE’, Floyd Mayweather, in a fight that generated $150m.
Many believe that it’s sheer madness from Khan, who has been dropped by light-welterweights, to move up two weight divisions against the aggressive, and heavy hitting Alvarez. Others believe that Khan is in a win-win position. If Khan goes in and gets blown away quickly by Alvarez, then he will be applauded for his bravery. He had the guts to face a man that many wouldn’t, and he moved up in weight to do so. Alternatively, if he manages to win, it will go down as possibly the greatest ever win by a British fighter. Khan will finally be the biggest name in world boxing.
So, can Khan do the unthinkable and beat a man who on fight night could weigh as much as 15lbs more? It is a huge ask, but Amir Khan is talented enough to do just that. The size difference appears to be the main reason as to why people believe Alvarez will simply blast through his smaller opponent. However, the size difference isn’t all it seems. At 5ft 9”, Alvarez is only 0.5cm taller than Khan, who stands at 5ft 8.5”, so the height difference is marginal. To counter this, Khan has the same size advantage when it comes to reach. Khan’s reach stands at a rangy 71”, compared to 70.5” of Alvarez.
The main difference will be the weight. With a catch-weight of 155lbs in his last fight vs Miguel Cotto, Alvarez rehydrated to a weight of 175lbs (super middleweight). Compare this to Amir Khan’s last fight vs Chris Algieri, where he rehydrated to 163lbs. Now, whilst this could cause Khan to be bullied by Canelo, it may also be the key to victory. Alvarez is not a full-blown middleweight himself. Since winning the middleweight crown, he had demanded that his opponents join him at 155lbs, which is 5lbs below the 11st 6lbs middleweight limit.
Amir Khan’s speed is second to none and being much lighter than Alvarez should allow him to be much quicker with his hands and his footwork. If he stays disciplined, stays on his toes for the full 12 rounds and listens to his trainer, Virgil Hunter, then Khan can outwork, outland and out point Alvarez on his way to a decision win and see him leaving Sin City with the WBC middleweight title around his waist.
So, who do you think is going to be victorious?
If Amir Khan wins will it be enough to provoke Mayweather to get back in the ring?
Let us know your thoughts and comment below