At first glance, Canelo vs Khan seems fairly easy to call, doesn’t it? Canelo Alvarez is probably going to win. It’s not a certainty or mere formality, but it’s where the sensible money goes at least. Amir Khan, who will be looking to leave Las Vegas with Canelo’s WBC Middleweight title, will be in with a chance, however, given his Amateur pedigree and elite boxing skills. Let’s crack into what both men bring to the ring.
Canelo vs Khan: Strengths & Weaknesses
Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KO)
Khan is considered to have one of the fastest pairs of hands in boxing (certainly at Welterweight), but owes his success to a whole lot more than speed. Khan has always possessed a great IQ and ring generalship abilities thanks to his strong Amateur pedigree which paved the way to a Silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.
Khan is yet to score a knockout at Welterweight, but has more pop than his record would suggest. The British standout made a name for himself in the states after almost stopping Marcos Maidana with a hellacious body shot, serving up a beatdown to Paulie Malignaggi, and taking out respected veteran Zab Judah.
While Khan hasn’t scored a KO since 2012, he actually seems more powerful under the tutelage of new trainer Virgil Hunter. Instead of falling in love with his high-volume combinations, Khan is now a lot more disciplined under Hunter, instead preferring to let off controlled short bursts.
Khan is a much more complete fighter thanks to this disciplined approach, making him less vulnerable to counters as he spends less time in the pocket during exchanges. In terms of growth and ability, today’s Amir Khan is the best version there has ever been, and, the best one to beat Canelo Alvarez.
Khan has many strengths going for him, but unfortunately wasn’t blessed with the greatest of chins and recovery powers. His somewhat leaky defense and ‘macho tendencies’ could partly be to blame for his two shock knockout losses; Khan was blitzed by Breidis Prescott in 2008, and once again by Danny Garcia in 2012.
That said, Khan defied his critics by surviving a life-and-death war with nightmare puncher Marcos Maidana in 2010, which is actually a rather baffling, right? Anyway, however you slice and dice the ‘Khan whiskers’ situation, it’s generally accepted that his whiskers just aren’t the strongest. It’s also worth noting that, bar the 2013 Julio Diaz encounter (which saw veteran Diaz floor Khan in the 4th), Khan has been unable to regroup and make it out of the trenches.
These fights took place some ago, but, while Khan has done much work on staying out of harm’s way under trainer Hunter, his defense is still fairly leaky (as we saw against one-hit wonder Chris Algieri last May). And yeah, Khan’s chin hasn’t been replaced. So, an important question going into Saturday night is: Can he handle the punching power of Canelo, the hardest-hitting opponent of his career?
Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO)
Canelo has heavy hands, bullish strength, and has received much praise for his impressive boxing ability, which includes great patience under fire and venomous counter-punching. These strengths obviously make Canelo’s firepower a whole lot deadlier since he is now picking his shots with greater precision than ever before.
Canelo has an impressive KO Highlight reel, as we all know, but it’s his timing and underappreciated ring smarts which have allowed him to remain so dominant and formidable. Canelo demonstrated remarkable poise under fire against James Kirkland last May before quickly taking advantage of Kirkland’s over-aggressiveness en route to a chilling 3rd round knockout.
Canelo followed up that win by taking on Miguel Cotto in November, not wiping the floor with the seasoned future of Hall of Famer per se, but playing the role of cunning predator very well, doing the greater damage during exchanges, and notably refusing to take a backwards step. If Khan is unable to earn the respect of Canelo, it could simply be a matter of time before Canelo closes the gap and ends their meeting.
Canelo looks to be showing improvement with every fight and generally showing his audience new tricks. But a weakness may be that Canelo can be a little flat-footed in general; it would of course go against his aggressive style to start dancing around the ring, but his heavy, grounded movement could allow Khan to gain momentum on fight night.
Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara may have come up short against Canelo, but they demonstrated how Canelo can be outmanoeuvred. If Khan were able to get off to a good start on the scorecards by utilizing his quicker feet, it could cause Canelo to become frustrated (as we saw against Lara), to rush in, and perhaps make mistakes.
As for the loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, it didn’t really highlight any particular flaws in Canelo other than that Canelo was a little too green for that fight, and that…well, he was probably never going to be able to compete with ol’ ‘Money’. And that’s no criticism since not many can.
Canelo vs Khan: Fight Night Prediction
Without getting a look at these two in the opening round, it’s difficult to foresee how this one’s going to unfold exactly. While Khan is a fine fighter in his own right and does have a chance of going some rounds – even close to twelve – it’s hard to see his hand getting raised when the dust has settled. Canelo is too strong, too big, and the fact it’s Khan’s first fight at ‘Caneloweight’ (155-pounds) doesn’t seem to bulk Khan’s chances.
Khan’s work rate and speed could ask some questions of Canelo during the early-to-mid rounds, but (going with my gut, media hype and that jazz removed) it just seems like a matter of time before Canelo’s power troubles Khan and brings the night to a close. For what it’s worth, I’m hoping for a competitive, thrilling encounter.
Canelo vs Khan Prediction: Canelo Alvarez Wins via KO/TKO 5
What about you, readers? How do you see Canelo vs Khan unfolding at the weekend, and has your prediction changed the nearer this fight has become?