Amir Khan will jump up two weight divisions when he faces the toughest test of his career, in the shape of boxing’s new superstar, Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 7.
Since the mega-fight was announced back in February, experts, fans and keyboard warriors alike have had a say on the British ace’s chances, with, it is fair to say, many rating them as slim. Can he realistically achieve what only the self-proclaimed ‘The Best Ever’ has managed to date?
For Sports Interaction, this is no impossible task for the talented Khan – though their odds currently have Canelo down as a 7/25 favourite (Khan is 11/4) – and here is how they think he could take the career-defining victory he has been chasing for years.
According to the betting firm, the Bolton puncher’s best chance to take the win is by taking Canelo the distance and outpointing him, as four of his last five fights were won by unanimous decision. In contrast, if the bout was to be stopped before the final bell, knockout merchant Canelo, who has halted two of his last five opponents and holds a 67% career knockout ratio, would be the favourite.
What if it comes down to a battle of the freshest? At 25, Alvarez is four years younger than his opponent, but Canelo, who owes his nickname to his red hair (‘canelo’ means ‘cinnamon’ in Spanish), is also coming into the May 7 scrap with a much bigger past – he has 48 professional fights to Khan’s 34, and has battled his way through 326 rounds to date, as opposed to 203 for Khan.
Besides, the latter last was on a ring nearly a year ago (49 weeks since he defeated Chris Algieri), whereas Canelo and Cotto faced each other less than six months ago. Though this might mean Khan will have more ring rust to shake off. Very much even stevens here.
There is no disputing the Mexican’s recent performances against elite fighters Floyd Mayweather Jr and Miguel Cotto put him in good stead for ‘Khanelo’, knowing he is also more familiar with Las Vegas rings, having fought seven times there (Khan has five Vegas bouts). However, Khan-backers are quick to point out that Canelo was ‘schooled’ by Mayweather and many an observer also think that the UD he was attributed against fans’ favourite Cotto was actually a much closer affair, putting his abilities against top fighters somehow in doubt.
Even though Amir Khan has had to make do with second-tier opponents over the past few years after unsuccessfully chasing a big-money fight with ‘Money’ or Manny Pacquiao, Sports Interaction insist the Brit has what it takes to upset the odds, if he draws on his experience from fights against acclaimed Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Wherever your allegiances lie, this is certainly one of those fights that is going to draw big crowds, with many Hollywood stars expected to fill ringside seats. Will Floyd be there? Will Amir Khan call him out should he win? Sports Interaction has come up with a series of Specials, which includes such betting opportunities as well as whether Kell Brook will reiterate his challenge to his compatriot after the fight.
They have also seen a flurry of activity around Canelo to beat Khan and then Golovkin in 2016, which they are offering at 5/1.
Ahead of the May 7 megafight between Amir Khan and boxing’s new superstar, Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, betting firm Sports Interaction took a trip down memory lane and explored the archives to see how the Bolton fighter’s US career compares to that of three other famous British exports – Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Lennox Lewis.
The latter is, by far, the most experienced when it comes to fighting in America with 22 contests to his name, and his outstanding win ratio of 95%, which makes him the most decorated UK export, is certainly something Khan would be keen to emulate before calling time on his own career.
The heavyweight great is, unsurprisingly considering his number of bouts there, also the Brit that secured the biggest average purse on American soil. Will Khan come close to challenging Lewis should he defeat Canelo and then go on to engage in battle with undisputed middleweight king, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin?
When it comes to drawing crowds – and therefore ticket sales – ‘The Lion’ was second-best, beaten to the punch by the flamboyantly entertaining ‘Prince Naseem’, who commanded an average crowd of 15,020 at the peak of his popularity on the other side of the pond. Leaving, even to this day, many to ponder what might have been had the Sheffield fighter’s career not suffered such a dramatic and sudden fall from grace after his 2001 loss to Marco Antonio Barrera.
Although the numbers tell a different story, placing Ricky Hatton in third place, many boxing connoisseurs still argue that ‘The Hitman’ remains the most popular British fighter with American crowds, the real US people’s champion. Something he likely owed to his heart, courage and thrilling performances – with his knockout ratio (57%) second only to Lewis and well ahead of bottom-of-the-pile Amir Khan (29%).
More than a career-defining win, victory against Canelo could open many golden doors to Amir Khan and allow him to catch up on his compatriots, who, to date, have made a bigger impression on the other side of the Atlantic.