By Dan Ambrose: Heavyweight contender David Haye is giving Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) a great shot of unseating WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) in their fight next month on May 7 on HBO PPV. Haye acknowledges that boxing fans believes he’s insane for picking such an underdog like the 29-year-old Khan, but he doesn’t care.
Haye, 35, just believes that Khan has the kinds of skills that will give the much heavier Canelo fits when the two fighters get inside the ring at the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Haye isn’t crazy to think that Khan can beat Canelo. We’ve already seen Canelo beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013, and almost beaten by Erislandy Lara in 2014. Even Austin Trout arguably fought Canelo to a draw in their fight in 2013.
Canelo is not invincible. He’s just a good fighter with a lot of weight, who tends to defeat fighters that weigh less than him. Whether it’s been by design or by accident that Canelo has mostly beaten lighter fighters than himself in recent years, it’s unknown.
What is known is that Canelo seems to be getting put in with fighters that are lighter than him for some reason. Now that he’s on the verge of fighting someone that is just a tad bit lighter than him in IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions seem to be dragging their feet in making the fight with the hard hitting Triple G.
“He’s [Khan] an underdog for a reason, but knowing how hard he trains and his style, I believe Amir has a massive shot at winning this fight on points,” said Haye to thesun.co.uk. “Everyone says I’m crazy, and that I’m saying it because he’s my mate, but I’m looking at this objectively. His style is an absolute nightmare for Alvarez.”
Khan has a chance of beating Canelo as long as he does exactly what Mayweather did in his win over Canelo in 2013. This means that Khan will need to be able to spend most of the fight in the pocket the same way that Mayweather did, and he’ll need to throw only single shots. Khan cannot throw combinations against a fighter like Canelo because he’ll get nailed in between one of his combinations and likely taken out.
It would be a good idea for Khan to fight in a Mayweather-esque manner against not only Canelo, but also against the remainder of his opponents during his career. Khan needs to just focus on throwing single shots against whoever he faces because he doesn’t have the chin to get away with throwing combinations.
If Khan had gotten a clue about this after his first loss of his career to Breidis Prescott in 2008, then Khan could have avoided his subsequent defeats at the hands of Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia. Those are fighters that Khan would have beaten if he’d thrown single punches and mostly jabs. Garcia was able to KO Khan when he attempted to throw a combination against him, and he was able to hit him in between his combination to hurt him.
“Everyone thinks he’s nuts, but if he can do it he goes down in boxing history. Don’t forget, Canelo is the best opponent Mayweather faced in 49 fights,” said Haye. “If Amir does that, he’s equaled Mayweather’s greatest achievement. I really think people need to understand that.”
There is a difference between what Mayweather did and what Khan is attempting to do in beating the 25-year-old Canelo. Mayweather showed a ton of courage in electing to fight Canelo when he was still unbeaten and seen as a real dangerous guy. Mayweather didn’t care, and he went after Canelo despite the huge risk involved. Khan is merely trying to follow Mayweather’s earlier blueprint in how to beat Canelo.
It’s lot easier to follow a blueprint than it is to create one from scratch the way that Mayweather did. Khan will get credit if he beats Canelo, there’s no doubt about that. But he won’t get the same kind of credit that Mayweather has been receiving because he was the first one to beat Canelo, and that’s a pretty special thing when you’re the first. The only way Khan gets a massive amount of credit for beating Canelo is if he knocks him out.
No one has done that, and it would be pretty special if a non-puncher like Khan was to show that he could knock out the hulking 175lb Canelo. Khan has put on a lot of muscles lately in bulking but it’s unlikely that he’s going to be punching hard enough to get a knockout in this fight.
“For Amir to go over to Vegas, box on a Golden Boy show and beat a champion two weights above him, it will be one of the biggest achievements in British boxing history,” said Haye.
Canelo is Golden Boy Promotions’ “golden goose,” says Haye, and if Khan can pluck that “golden goose” clean in beating him by a 12 round decision or by a knockout, it would be a major big deal for Khan and for the sport.
Khan will have made a name for himself if he beats Canelo, and he would be sinking Canelo’s career by giving him another loss. Canelo would obviously be able to come back from the loss due to his huge built in fan base that he has going for him, but I would be hard for Canelo to come back from the loss. Canelo is putting on more weight lately, and it’s not likely that he could do much if he moved down in weight to the 154-pound division.
To hold a belt in that weight class, Canelo would need to beat someone like the Charlo brothers, Liam Smith or Erislandy Lara. Those would not be easy fights for Canelo, especially if he had to boil down another pound. I get the feeling that one of the reasons why Canelo won’t lose that extra pound to get down to 154 to fight is because it’s probably killing him just to make 155.
For someone to rehydrate 20 pounds to get to 175, it’s got to be really hard. When I was in high school, I had to take 10 pounds off the week of my wrestling meets to get to 177. I was drained losing just that amount and then putting it back on to compete. To take 20+ pounds off like Canelo is doing, it’s got to be really hard on his body. Hopefully he doesn’t hurt himself one day in dehydrating. You wouldn’t want him to shut down any of his major organs by failing to drink enough fluids.