De La Hoya: Canelo-Khan winner will be #1 fighter in boxing

By Boxing News - 04/19/2016 - Comments

delahoya83By Dan Ambrose: WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s excitable promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions believes that the upcoming fight between Canelo and Amir “King” Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) on May 7 will determine who the Number 1 fighter will be in the sport of boxing.

De La Hoya already sees the 25-year-old Canelo as the top fighter in the sport, but he now thinks Khan has the chance to take the number one position from the Mexican super star if he beats them in their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s extremely doubtful that Khan will be seen as the number one fighter in the sport even if he knocks Canelo out in the first minute of the 1st round on May 7.

Khan doesn’t have the huge built in fan base that Canelo has in the United States, and there will continue to be doubts about Khan until he faces arguably better fighters than Canelo like Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs at 160.

The fact that Canelo has done so little to warrant being the top fighter in the sport is troubling. It suggests that Canelo is popular for his wins over a handful of lesser fighters and in many cases smaller fighters than he is for what he’s done when he’s had to face difficult opponents. Canelo has fought only four tough opponents in his career in Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto.

Many boxing fans believe Canelo’s record from those four fights should be 0-3-1. Some fans thought Canelo should have lost to Trout and Lara; while other fans believe that Canelo deserved no better than a draw against Trout and Cotto. I personally had Canelo losing to Trout and Lara, and of course Mayweather. It thought Canelo vs. Cotto should have been a draw. I scored six rounds for Cotto and six rounds for Canelo.

“It reminds me of a classic fight I saw between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, where nobody gave him [Leonard] any chance to Sugar Ray Leonard and we saw what happened there,” De La Hoya said to IFL TV. “He [Leonard] shocked the world. This is one of those fights where Amir Khan is motivated. He knows it’s his one shot, his one opportunity to become a super star, a global star and this is what he’s been looking for. Amir Khan has been looking for the big fights. [Manny] Pacquiao didn’t want to fight him, and now he has Canelo Alvarez in front of him, who is a superstar in boxing today. I think the winner of this classic match-up will become the man in boxing. That’s basically it. This fight is going to generate some huge numbers on pay-per-view. We’re almost sold out in Las Vegas in the brand new T-Mobile Arena. By having all those TV viewers and by having 20,000 people in the arena, you become the fighter in the sport. I think Canelo [has more to lose]. I think if Amir loses, he can obviously go back down in weight. At 154, 160, Amir Khan has the frame, has the size, but if Canelo loses, they’ll say he lost against a smaller guy. What people have to realize is Amir Khan is not a small guy. He has size and he has tremendous ability. He has tremendous skills. He’s a fast fighter. Whoever loses this fight, there is no shame in going out in defeat because you’re going to be in the ring against an elite fighter whether it’s Canelo or Amir Khan,” said De La Hoya.

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I think it’ll still be too early to know who the number one fighter is in boxing until after the Canelo-Khan winner faces Golovkin to determine who the top dog is. However, if De La Hoya is just talking about who the guy with the most fans is, then you can argue that it’s Canelo. He’ll likely continue to have more fans than other fighters no matter what whats happens in Khan fight.