Middleweight crown on the line as Khan contests Canelo in Las Vegas
Lee Gormley | May 6, 2016
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Amir Khan
- WBC middleweight title fight
- Sunday, May 8th
- Scheduled for: 05:00 BST
- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Live on BoxNation
Khan faces Canelo test at middleweight
Bolton’s Amir Khan faces the biggest challenge of his exciting career to date this weekend as the two-time world champion collides with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas for the WBC middleweight crown.
The 29-year-old makes a daunting step up two divisions to challenge arguably the biggest name in the sport in the early hours of Sunday morning, as he looks to clinch a historic victory at the T-Mobile Arena.
‘King’ Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) will enter his first bout since May last year when he overcame Chris Algieri in a welterweight clash in New York, and the odds are heavily stacked against the Briton this time around in Sin City, where he is 11/4 with Coral for a shock points decision success.
Briton hopeful speed can help cause
Despite this being the first time Khan has fought above 147 pounds, the former Olympic Silver medallist is still confident the move up to this catchweight of 155lbs will not affect his speed and insists he has the power to hurt Canelo (46-1-1, 32 KOs).
“The speed has still been there, I thought it was going to decrease a little bit, but it’s still there. The sharpness of my shots and the power has definitely improved,” stated Khan, who is 5/2 to prevail.
“So, I really believe he is going to have big problems going into the later rounds especially with the speed.
“It might go the full distance…”
“Like I said, with the speed now we have a lot of power, having put a little bit more weight on. When I do hit him with these quick shots, he is definitely going to be hurt by them.
“I can only beat him by using my speed and skill. It might go the full distance, I think it probably will. But it’s all about being one step ahead of him, catching him with some good shots, making him fall short and keep boxing him.”
Canelo has come a long way since his only career loss to now retired Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013, and the 25-year-old enters his 49th bout as the overwhelming 4/7 favourite for a knockout victory, after impressive wins over Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland and most recently Miguel Cotto since tasting defeat.
Alvarez fires warning to Khan
The Mexican earned a unanimous decision success over Puerto Rican legend Cotto in his last bout in November and is 11/2 to outpoint Khan in Nevada this weekend, but has warned his British challenger that he will have to worry about more than just his power.
“I don’t go in there thinking about power,” stated Canelo, who is 14/1 for a first-round KO. “There’s a lot more to me than just power. When you see me in the ring on Saturday night, you’ll find out.
“I already have a lot of experience but the best is yet to come. I’m 25 years old, I’ve had a good career and the best is yet to come. I want to fight for the next 10 years which will be better than my first 10 years.
“I feel comfortable at 154lbs. I know I’m fighting for the 160lbs title but that one extra pound is lighter on my body and I feel better.
“While I am at this weight, I will not fight someone who weighs 160lbs – that would be an advantage to the opponent – why would I give them that advantage?”
Canelo’s comments are in relation to a potential unification mega-fight with Gennady Golovkin, as the Kazakhstan middleweight champion lies in wait for the winner of this weekend’s showdown, and will be a keen ringside spectator to oversee what could be a thrilling fight in Vegas.
Lemieux and Quigley on undercard
On an exciting undercard in Sin City, Canadian puncher David Lemieux returns to the ring six months after his unification loss to middleweight devastator Golovkin, and he is odds-on 1/25 to down Glen Tapia before Canelo and Khan take to the ring.
Meanwhile, Frankie Gomez challenges Mauricio Herrera in a welterweight meeting, with the latter veteran fighter 15/8 to prevail and his Mexican-American opponent being the 2/5 favourite.
‘The Golden Kid’ Diego De La Hoya, cousin of Golden Boy promoter and future Hall of Famer Oscar, looks to continue his unbeaten rise through the professional ranks by overcoming Rocco Santomauro, and the talented youngster is 1/50 for a 15th career win.
Ireland’s Jason Quigley also features early on the card, as the Donegal middleweight contests Mexican James De La Rosa in his 11th professional outing and is 1/33 to enjoy a successful night, while his South American foe is 10/1 to spring a surprise.