Sorry, Boxing Fans: Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan Will Be a Blockbuster Blowout

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2016

Khan has been knocked out twice in his career by smaller fighters.
Khan has been knocked out twice in his career by smaller fighters.Associated Press

Canelo Alvarez, the lineal middleweight champion of the world, will face Amir Khan, a welterweight who was knocked unconscious by Danny Garcia and Breidis Prescott, on Saturday, May 7 live on HBO pay-per-view at a venue yet to be determined.

Yes, that’s a real thing that’s happening. No, you are not having a bad dream, and no, you are not the only one who feels like everyone involved in making the fight is insane.

Maybe you and I are taking crazy pills?

Coming off the biggest win of his career, it’s smart for Alvarez to look for a big-name opponent for his next gig. His decision win over Miguel Cotto last year raised his already high profile in the sport, and with the vacuum left by longtime megastar Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s retirement begging to at least partially be filled, the time is right for Alvarez and his handlers to double down on efforts to help Canelo be the man to do it.

And 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 does not add up to a credible opponent.

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

It’s brave of Khan to take the fight. Boxing has offered many such examples of courage over the years, and Khan’s willingness to step inside the ring with Alvarez is nothing at all to deride. When a man is willing to enter a contest where his only real hope starts and ends with pure luck, he should be commended for it.

Or we should at least not snicker.

But it’s foolish to believe Khan stands any real chance against Alvarez. He’s done nothing over the course of his career to suggest he has any business being in the ring with such a foe, and he didn’t look particularly good against the light-hitting Chris Algieri in his last fight.

Alvarez is no Algieri. He’s largely considered one of the better fighters in boxing today, and he’s only getting better.

That’s not to say he’s unbeatable. There’s a vast ocean of difference between him and, say, what Mayweather was at during the latter part of his career. Money was a savant of boxing mechanics. He was the best of his era and hardly broke a sweat while embodying it.

Alvarez is still a young star who hasn’t yet reached his full potential. No matter what hat he wears to the ring on fight night, he’s not the best.

Being the best is more than wearing a hat, but Alvarez is on his way.
Being the best is more than wearing a hat, but Alvarez is on his way.Eric Jamison/Associated Press

And Khan is a good welterweight. But he’s not good enough for us to wonder how he’d fare against larger opponents. Right?

We wanted to see Mayweather against such giants because we wondered just how great he was. We don’t wonder that about Khan. If anything, we still wonder whether he’s even one of the top three welterweights in the world. He’s certainly not beaten anyone to suggest he might be, and he doesn’t even seem willing to prove he’s the best 147-pounder from the United Kingdom.

Khan vs. Kell Brook is the fight that would do that. Khan vs. Alvarez is pure promotional nonsense.

Still, styles make fights, as the saying goes. But even in looking at the fight from this angle, Alvarez vs. Khan makes very little sense. Alvarez is a heavy-hitting fighter with a ton of hand speed and enough foot speed to get him where he needs to go to use it. His combination punching is superb, and he’s as adept defensively as almost any other fighter in the world.

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Khan, on the other hand, has blazingly fast hands but little power and even less ability to stay out of harm’s way when he uses it. The only way he lasts longer than a few rounds with Alvarez is if he runs fast and far enough away from the action when the bell rings to make the bout a footrace. Even in that case, Alvarez would probably track him down by the end of the fight.

There’s really no other way to put it. I'm a consummate optimist when it comes to fight matchups, but for the life of me I can’t see any other way around hating this fight.

Sorry, boxing fans, but Canelo vs. Khan will be a blockbuster blowout, one that will be sold to you by profiteers as a legitimate fight between equals but one simply constructed to add more glitz and glamour to the 25-year-old Alvarez’s resume.

It's an unwanted and unnecessary mismatch between two fighters with recognizable names but little else in common. No matter how rigorously promoted, how lavish the press tour, how brilliantly cut the HBO promotional video assets turn out to be or how many ridiculous Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler comparisons that lead promoter Oscar De La Hoya throws out from the pulpit beforehand, this fight is totally bunk.

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