The Khan Camp Have Already Made A Huge Mistake v Canelo

So now we all now why there was a reluctance for Amir Khan to sign up for a domestic battle with Kell Brook. In an almighty twist that nobody saw coming, the Bolton fighter announced that he was ready to step up to 155 and take on Mexican superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.
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Let's start by giving Khan a lot of praise for this. In a sport that's reduced its risk taking to a vanishing point in recent years, it takes big stones to take on a challenge like he has. Here is a fighter who is prepared to gamble and take a risk, dismissing a financially lucrative domestic fight with Kell Brook in favour of a hugely ambitious and dangerous punt at a heavier, world class opponent.

Whether or not the Brook fight will ever happen now is open to speculation. Certainly there seems to have been an element of the Khan camp using that contest as a smokescreen as they went after a match up with Canelo. In many ways however it could be a good thing for Brook. The financial windfall aside, he's still a world champion in a division full of great fights. He'll have no shortage of talent trying to wrestle his title away from him. The jury is still out on the Sheffield man on the other side of the pond - he needs to ramp up and face high class fighters rather than the tepid opposition he has been defending his title against so far.

No one could ever really aim that criticism at Amir Khan however. Whilst his recent inactivity has been something of a concern, previously to that his opponents have been a steady stream of fighters with the element of danger about them. Khan seems to be a boxer who thrives on that edge, but even by his standards this latest twist seems like a round of Russian roulette and slightly outlandish to the point where you wonder whether they've thought it through.

Or maybe not. Whilst there's no doubt Khan will have to avoid Canelo's armoury for the full 36 minutes, there are little clues to be unlocked as the Khan camp look for an unlikely victory. Firstly to Canelo's much lauded punch power. As much as the Mexican superstar hits heavy, a quick look at his highlights reel doesn't reveal a devastating puncher. Canelo is no Golovkin but he thuds away until his culmination of punches start to take effect. That was evident in the way he wore Kirkland down in their fight. Canelo is technically gifted on the front foot but he never really explodes in the ring. He's steady and studious in the way he boxes. It's hard to remember a 'pound for pound' fighter with slower feet than he has in fact and with Khan's electric speed and movement it's precisely that which the Bolton fighter will be looking to exploit with maximum effect.

Canelo has struggled with boxers with natural movement before. Already people are talking of his two year defeat against Floyd Mayweather, although that is a bit of a stale argument - turning in one of his greatest ever performances Floyd reduced Canelo to wild swings and romped to an embarrassingly one sided victory, but no fighter in the world has been able to pin Mayweather down. More worrying for the Canelo camp however was another fight against a ring 'glider' in Erislandy Lara. Lara, gifted technician in the ring made Canelo look ordinary at times, bossing large portions of their fight to such an extent that despite Canelo gaining the nod by majority decision many believed he had lost the fight comfortably. It's an argument in fact that still rumbles on to this day.

While there is no doubt that Canelo struggles against movement and has a major chink in his armour, on the opposite side of the argument, Khan's major flaw has to be discussed at a matter of concern too. Khan's so called 'glass chin' is over exaggerated at times. No one gets through that 10th round with Marcos Maidana without having some sort of durability in that department. The main problem seems to be with the Bolton fighter that he eventually always seemed to get drawn into a gunslinging contest. It's a trait of Khan's thats been obvious in his more high profile contests, especially those with Garcia and Maidana. Why Khan dismisses his natural talent at times to brawl wildly this way is a mystery but there can be no doubt that when he gets in trouble his faculties desert him. A flailing Khan will be dismissed into the ether by Canelo.

The Khan camp won't be as stupid as to try and trade with Canelo of course, but they will try to circle their man trying to score with rapid clusters of punches. As we've already mentioned, the Mexican fighter is hardly the quickest. With his frame like a natural light heavyweight, it must be killing him to get down to 155 for the weigh in and it's here that the fight will most probably be won. With there being no 're-hydration' limit clause in the fight contract, it could be that Canelo comes to the ring weighing between 175 and 180 pounds. That will give him a huge weight advantage over Khan who will not want to over-bulk to retain ring speed. It seems a huge mistake by the Khan camp and one which could pretty much determine the outcome of the fight. At everything but range, Khan potentially could be bullied mercilessly. It's what makes the biggest argument for a straight forward Canelo victory too. Will Khan have the discipline to stick to a meticulous game plan for 12 rounds, and if Canelo pins him to the wheel will he have the streetwise ring craft to get out of trouble? 

The answer to both those questions is probably not. If pushed for a prediction I'd probably go for a win for Canelo, by knock out in the sixth round in fact. As world class as Khan undoubtedly is, this fight seems beyond his reach and probably has Canelo coming into his peak in many ways as a world champion. As a contest however it still throws up a hell of a lot of intriguing questions and unknowns. Come May in Vegas we'll find those answers out.