Saul Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) vs. Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs)
When: Saturday, May 7, 2016
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: HBO PPV
Weight Class: Middleweight: 155-Pounds Catchweight
by Scott of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Khan +350/Alvarez -440
Over/Under: Not available at time of print.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez takes on Amir Khan in Las Vegas on May 7. Canelo will be defending his WBC middleweight title that he won from Miguel Cotto in November for the first time. He takes on the smaller, but talented Khan, who has been waiting for a big fight for several years. Alvarez is the favorite, but Khan has enough talent to warrant him being a live dog. No one was really expecting this matchup, but now that it’s been made, it’s a fight that will be well-anticipated by fans.
Canelo’s November win over Miguel Cotto was a career-best triumph. The veteran skills of Cotto created a lot of problems for Alvarez, but the harder punching of Alvarez ended up impressing the judges, who scored widely for the 25-year old Mexican star. Khan, 29, has been rather inactive, largely as he’s been holding out for a big fight. For several of Floyd Mayweather’s last fights, Khan was the leading candidate, but he was never able to book the fight. As a result, he fought just once in 2015—a decision win over Chris Algieri. Since 2012, he has fought just 4 times.
The outstanding issue in this fight is Amir Khan’s durability, or lack thereof. Having been laid out at 135 pounds and 140 pounds, this shortcoming could really resonate as he prepares to take on a hard-hitting 155-pounder. Khan just can’t take a punch very well. Any solidly-landed punch threatens to short-circuit the brain of the Bolton standout.
No one will ever question the talent of Khan, a prodigious offensive fighter who was good enough to win an Olympic silver medal at age 17. The issue is when the punches come flying the opposite way. When he’s throwing punches, you’ll find Khan to be one of those rare talents with abundant speed, power, and fluidity. His offense suggests a Hall of Fame-worthy fighter. His chin, however, does not.
Khan has been on the big stage since he was very young, so it’s not that strange to see him moving up divisions. But Alvarez has also been in the spotlight since a young age and is simply the bigger guy. He is small for a middleweight champion, as he is still able to make junior middleweight poundage, but he’s been at this weight as Khan has moved up from 135. Khan has been at 147 for a few years now, but for a fighter who has struggled with durability issues, the size disparity takes on the air of a bigger issue.
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Canelo has experienced some issues with boxers before. Khan is capable of boxing beautifully, though his zest for battle usually manifests at some point during a fight. But there is a route to victory for Khan if he can find it. He will have to use his legs and speed and remain committed to a very disciplined game plan. Then he has to hope he can go rounds without catching a hard shot. And while Khan’s frailty is something we will hear a lot about leading up to the fight, he has only been knocked out twice in his career, the last one being nearly four years ago. And he’s gotten through some tough moments before to salvage a win. For all his liabilities, he’s done pretty well for himself.
But alas, chin issues are not correctable and certainly not when moving up in weight to fight a heavy-handed guy like Alvarez. The Guadalajara native is not a one-punch KO artist, but he brings consistent pressure and when his punches connect, they do so with a resounding thud. A lot bigger and more-durable fighters than Khan have been affected greatly by the Canelo onslaught, including the durable Cotto in Alvarez’ last fight. In a way, Canelo reminds one of a former Mexican boxing idol in Julio Cesar Chavez—a fighter who didn’t do any one thing great, but did everything really well.
The site and timeframe of this fight is also an area of concern for Khan. The English star should get some nice support from a rabid UK fan-base that travels long distances to support their men. But Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo weekend is a setting that favors Canelo. And not to imply that Canelo’s success is a product of favorable judging, but he really gets the benefit of the doubt, as his widely scored win over Miguel Cotto will attest. Khan faces an uphill battle here in more ways than one.
Just as one can start trying to make a case for Khan, that chin keeps popping into the mind. He has looked reasonably good in recent appearances, with clear wins over Algieri, Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo, and others. One of his three losses was borderline scandalous. But even against the light-punching Algieri, Khan’s legs looked a little shaky on a few occasions after getting hit. Against Breidis Prescott, he collapsed like an old Vegas hotel being demolished. Danny Garcia made mincemeat of Khan. And a handful of other fighters nearly had Khan on his way. Khan, nearly 30 now, is down to perhaps his last chance to really forge a special career. You can’t underestimate a fighter with this much talent when facing an ultra-urgent situation. Khan should be expected to produce a quality effort. And if Canelo has trouble landing solidly and consistently, Khan could have a lot of success.
At the end of the day, the avenues to victory are more numerous for Canelo. He has been troubled by slick fighters before and Khan is capable of that kind of boxing. And despite the jump in weight, he still has a little length on Alvarez. But at some point, he will need to dissuade Canelo. Khan will still have pop, but might not have the kind of fight-changing power at this weight and level that would give more credence to his boxing.
Though he has been muted by some of the better boxers he has faced, Canelo has proven he is ultra-durable. He can take a punch. Canelo is like a dependable truck, whereas Khan is the flashy, but trouble-prone imported sports car. The sports car will get more attention at times, but at the end. It’ll be the truck getting the job done. I’m inclined to lay the number on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in this one.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at -440. Khan has the speed and skills to trouble Canelo, but Khan hasn’t been able to take punches well from smaller fighters and his jump in weight and thirst for glory has led him into a bad style matchup..Canelo’s overall robustness and heavy hands should carry the day. Where are you betting the fight? You can get a massive 100% bonus AND your credit card will work at Realbet Sportsbook!
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