Amir Khan frustrated Canelo Alvarez for most of five rounds with his speed and rare discipline Saturday night, but size and power took over for Canelo with one punch in the 5th, whereupon Canelo punched Khan into another dimension. Khan remained there, unconscious, worryingly, for a full several minutes.
It was a spectacular right hand against a naturally smaller foe; Canelo fights at 155, but he’s the lineal middleweight champion, and Khan was probably fighting above his ideal weight at welter, and hasn’t really taken a good shot his whole life.
That Khan fought as well as he did for as long as he did on HBO Pay-Per-View was surprising. This writer gave him the first four rounds. Reasonable people thought Khan would fare well early, given his speed and movement and Canelo’s difficulties against that type previously. But Khan, who tends to be a bit of a spaz in the ring, wasn’t making mistakes. He was picking his spots, landing jabs and even hard punches, and not getting hit much back by Canelo, who seemed to be shooting for the home run in the 1st inning.
Canelo’s timing began to improve, and he began to close the distance, over the 3rd and 4th, as he mixed in body shots and better boxing. He shook Khan once or twice before the home run finally came.
Khan taking this fight was fairly psychotic, but he acquitted himself as well as might be expected, maybe better. He got a big payday out of it, and while his balls are commendable, he also has been angling for a fight against the top moneymaker in the sport, and finally got it. Good for him. At 147, he’s still viable, but we haven’t seen him knocked out quite like this, so who knows what lasting damage might result.
Canelo gets points for smartly adjusting, and for having power; not many points for sleepifying someone so much smaller, or taking the fight at all, let alone putting it on PPV. He called Gennady Golovkin, the #1 contender at middleweight, into the ring after, as some kind of demonstration of his willingness to fight him. Either man would prove more about himself by dropping their weight demands (Canelo wants to only fight at 155, Golovkin only at 160) than with such posturing. It’s arguably the best fight that can be made in the sport. They’re wasting time against almost anyone else.
(LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 06: Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan pose during their official weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena – Toshiba Plaza; Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)