The boxing world was stunned Tuesday when Golden Boy promotions announced the first pay-per-view superfight of 2016 — Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan. The matchup between the Mexican and British superstars wasn’t on anyone’s radar in the boxing fan, and media, communities, and despite the near-constant rumor mongering that often seems like the life blood of the boxing business, the fighters and promoter somehow kept the negotiations under wraps until all the paperwork was done, a boxing rarity if not an absolute first.
“In all the years I’ve been in boxing I have never been able to keep a secret like this one,” Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya told Dan Rafael of ESPN on Tuesday. “We’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks. It was difficult to but not impossible to keep it quiet.”
The Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan fight is set to headline an HBO pay-per-view card on May 7 in Las Vegas, though a specific venue has not yet been selected. De La Hoya told Rafael that Golden Boy is eyeing the new, 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena operated by the MGM Grand.
— Bible of Boxing (@ringmagazine) February 2, 2016
But there’s a catch to this fight — a catch weight, to be specific.
Khan has agreed to fight Alvarez at 155 pounds, albeit with the WBC Middleweight title that Alvarez won from Miguel Cotto last November on the line. The 29-year-old Khan, a native of Bolton, England, has never fought at a weight above 147 pounds — and then, only three times, after spending most of his 34-fight career in the junior welterweight and lightweight divisions.
But Khan, in the interview seen below, says that his “walking around” weight is actually about 165, so fighting at 155 will be closer to his natural weight. See what else Amir Khan had to say about his upcoming fight against 25-year-old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the following video.
In addition to the unfamiliar weight — the weight at which Alvarez fought and defeated not only Cotto, but Shane Mosely, James Kirkland, and Alfredo Angulo among others — Khan will be returning to the ring after what will have been almost a full year of inaction.
He last fought and won a unanimous decision against unheralded 30-year-old Chris Algieri on May 29 of 2015.
Kahn is also known for a suspect chin, having suffered two brutal knockouts in his career, at the hands of the unknown Breidis Prescott in 2008 and again by Danny Garcia in 2012. Khan also dropped a split decision to Lamont Peterson in 2011.
Sick boxing trick https://t.co/0ijJQI7Yg2
— Insane Sport Clips (@InsaneSportClip) February 4, 2016
Alvarez, on the other hand, has already fought 48 times, turning pro at age 15, and he has lost only one time — to Floyd Mayweather by decision in September of 2013. That fight, at the time, was the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight in boxing history.
Khan, on the other hand, has never been on a stage as big a fight as Alvarez has already experienced.
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So does Amir Khan stand a chance against the bigger, more experienced — though younger — Saul “Canelo” Alvarez? Not everyone thinks so.
“While it’s true Khan has enough almost-star power to fit the bill, the sum of the weight of his body along with his accompanying skill set and ability certainly does not add up to a credible opponent,” wrote Bleacher Report columnist Kelsey McCarson Wednesday.
McCarson predicts the fight will turn into a “blockbuster blowout,” and deems the matchup “pure promotional nonsense.”
ESPN boxing scribe Brian Campbell was also skeptical of the Alvarez-Khan fight, but grudgingly praised the matchup as “great entertainment value.”
“With Khan as the quick boxer and Canelo the heavy counterpuncher, it also has enough bells and whistles to offset the very possible outcome of Alvarez winning by devastating knockout,” Campbell wrote.
But one person, at least, is confident that Amir Khan can defeat Saul “Canelo” Alvarez — and that person is Amir Khan.
“I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve,” the British boxer said.
[Featured Photos By STR / Isaac Broken / Associated Press]