Khan: I’m looking to nullify Canelo’s attributes
(Photo credit: Golden Boy Promotions) By Dan Ambrose: Challenger Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) says he’s working on what he considers the perfect game plan to defeat WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) on May 7 on HBO PPV.
Khan, 29, isn’t giving away his strategy that he and trainer Virgil Hunter have that they’ll be using to beat the 5’9” Canelo on 5/7, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be reinventing the wheel for this fight. The blueprint in how to beat Canelo was already created by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, and it was followed well by Erislandy Lara in his fight with Canelo in 2014.
Lara showed that the blueprint still works. What Lara failed to do was stand in the pocket long enough to land his shots to win the fight. If Khan is going to follow Mayweather’s blueprint, then he’s going to need to make sure he connects with enough punches to win the fight.
Canelo always fights the same way each time he’s out there. He doesn’t need to change much because he’s pretty much always the bigger guy, thanks to the match-making that his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are dioing for him. They’re not throwing Canelo in with good middleweights like Gennady Golovkin or Daniel Jacobs. Instead, they’re putting him in with the smaller Khan and the lighter Miguel Cotto.
“We’re working on the perfect game plan for this fight and that is what is going to win it for me,” said Khan. “I know what Canelo does well, and his key attributes, so we’ll be looking to nullify those. I’m going to keep pushing myself hard in training and will be ready to give everything come fight night.”
Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter will no doubt have watched Canelo’s fights against Mayweather Jr, and Lara and seen immediately that Canelo has very slow feet, and that he can’t really cut off the ring against guys that use movement. Canelo has a decent jab, but he doesn’t have the long arms to land it against fighters when they’re on the outside.
What you do matters, but why you do it matters so much more
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) March 17, 2016
In a jabbing war, Khan will have a tremendous advantage against Canelo. As long as Khan doesn’t get too close, he should be able to get the better of the short-armed Canelo. If you look at Canelo’s fights, he does well against fighters that stray too close to him when they’re throwing their power shots. This enables him to land his powerful left hook. However, when his opponents aren’t throwing power shots, then Canelo can’t connect with his left hook at all. He’s not able to land his left hook when he’s being jabbed all night long like he was against Mayweather.
“Khan was the biggest name they [Golden Boy Promotions] could get that was safe for Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend that could do a pay-per-view number,” said Max Kellerman of HBO. “When you look at boxing history with James J. Corbett beating John L. Sullivan once upon a time. He didn’t move up but he was the smaller, faster man. The ‘Cinderella Man’ James Braddock against Max Baer, the same sort of thing. Michael Spinks-Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler – all those examples of the smaller guy moving up to fight the bigger guy is usually fighting a guy that is a little past his prime at least. [Roy] Jones moved up from middleweight to fight super middleweight James Toney, who like Canelo, was a fantastic counter puncher and an aggressive boxer/puncher, but didn’t have the quickest feet, and Roy used his sensational speed to befuddle James Toney. Ideally, that’s what Khan is going to try to do to Canelo,” said Kellerman.
That’s pretty telling what Kellerman says about Khan being chosen by Golden Boy because they felt he was safe for Canelo. I think that pretty much sums it up. Golden Boy didn’t want to take any chances by putting Canelo in with a middleweight or a junior middleweight that could potentially beat him. So they selected a welterweight in Khan for Canelo to fight, hoping that he can beat him.
It would have been interesting if Golden Boy picked an opponent from the 140lb division again like they did when they matched Canelo against Josesito Lopez several years ago. The fight was made during the time that Lopez was a light welterweight. He then had to move up in weight to fight the much bigger Canelo.
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