It’s said that styles make fights, and that is certainly true when it comes to the speedy Amir Khan and the powerful Canelo Alvarez. No matter the winner, Saturday night’s fight looks to be a classic “power vs. speed” matchup.
Around a year ago today, Amir Khan was in the perfect position to either be Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao’s final fight. A less-than-spectacular victory over Chris Algieri, however, set him back in terms of his standing in the boxing world. Additionally, a fight with British Welterweight champ Kell Brook never materialized. Canelo Alvarez, on the other hand, was fresh off of clobbering a resurgent James Kirkland inside three rounds to set himself up perfectly for a date with Miguel Cotto, a fight he would win by unanimous decision. Many believed Gennady Golovkin would be next.
Here we are a year later, however. Mayweather and Pacquiao are retired: For one reason or another, Golovkin and Canelo aren’t squaring up any time soon. So what do you do when two of boxing’s biggest names are without a fight? Why not have them fight each other?
This may not have been the thinking that led to this fight being made months ago, but Canelo-Khan is still poised to be the biggest pay-per-view since Mayweather-Pacquiao bout last year. They are two of boxing’s biggest draws, both with a massive home-country following as well as a healthy fan base within the United States.
That being said, here’s everything you need to know about the Amir Khan vs Canelo Alvarez bout!
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Time: 9:00 pm Eastern /8:00 pm Central Time /6:00 pm Pacific
Channel: HBO Pay-Per-View
Amir “King” Khan
From: Bolton, England
Record: 31 Wins, 3 Losses, 19 Knockouts
WBA/IBF Light Welterweight Champion (Former)
WBC Silver Welterweight Champion (Current)
Last Five Fights:
Win - Unanimous Decision vs Chris Algieri
Win - Unanimous Decision vs Devon Alexander
Win - Unanimous Decision vs Luis Collazo
Win - Unanimous Decision vs Julio Diaz
Win - Corner Stoppage (10th rd.) vs Carlos Molina
Strengths: Amir Khan may very well have the fastest hands in boxing. In fights vs renowned fighters such as Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander, he peppered his opponents with combo after combo to the head, body, basically anywhere he could land them. He’s got great ring generalship, and can literally run rings around his opponents, tiring them out and taking shots with ease. Being as fast as he is, Khan’s strength and size often go understated. He stands at 6 feet (taller than Alvarez, for all those saying Canelo has the size advantage) and has looks massive as he puts on weight to go from 147 lbs. to 155 lbs. According to his trainer, Virgil Hunter (5-0 as Khan’s trainer), his increased weight has not come at the expense of his speed either. In addition, Khan is never one from backing down and is unafraid in the ring.
Weaknesses: Come to think of it, though, Khan can be a little too unafraid. Two of his three losses came in fights where he stood and traded with proven power punchers, leaving his chin exposed. In a fight with former titlist Chris Algieri, a fight Khan should have won easily, the overmatched Algieri went the distance and landed more than a few times throughout. While Khan’s talent and speed prevailed in the end, it was a closer fight than expected and some outlets actually had Algieri sneaking by with a win. No one is doubting that Khan has mettle, but when he goes out of his way to prove it, he pays. Hunter’s bound to come up with a sound game plan for Saturday, but if Khan veers from it Canelo could make quick work of him.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
From: Guadalajara, Mexico
Division: Super-Welterweight, Middleweight
Record: 46 Wins, 1 Loss, 32 Knockouts
The Ring/WBC/WBA Light Middleweight Champion (Former)
The Ring/ WBC Middleweight Champion (Current)
Last Five Fights:
Win - Unanimous Decision vs Miguel Cotto
Win - Knockout (3rd rd.) vs James Kirkland
Win - Split Decision vs Erislandy Lara
Win - Knockout (10th rd.) vs Alfredo Angulo
Loss - Majority Decision vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Strengths: Canelo is arguably one of the greatest knockout artist in the Middleweight division. He can land the big power punch, he can wear fighters down with his jab, he can outbox, he can out brawl, he can basically do it all. Unanimous decision wins' vs the likes of Austin Trout and Matthew Hatton show that when he can’t land his knockout, he’s perfectly capable of duking it out and looking pretty while he does it. His stunning KO vs James Kirkland last year may have been the prettiest knockout in recent history (okay technically no knockouts should look pretty but it was so CLEAN…). His boxing IQ improves tenfold with every fight as well, much in part to his trainers the father & son duo Eddie and Chepo Reynoso.
Weaknesses: Canelo has trouble with speedy, mobile, defensively adept fighters, hence why this fight is such an interesting matchup. Against mobile fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and Erislandy Lara, Canelo was left chasing for much of the fight and picked his punches poorly. While he was able to salvage a split decision out of his Lara fight, against Mayweather he was able to land a few punches but was consistently counterpunched throughout the night and by the later rounds “Money” was toying with the Mexican. He will have to learn to cut off the ring if Khan avoids the direct confrontation and stays on his toes.
Canelo’s got the edge in Vegas due to his pedigree, and Khan’s three losses. However, counting out Khan would be a foolish move. He’s got a decent pedigree of his own and is hungry after missing out on two gigantic paydays. With his Canelo fight, he’s out to prove he deserved Mayweather and Pacquiao while Canelo is out to prove he is boxing’s new Pay-Per-View king. Canelo wins by Majority Decision