Glorious Delusions: Canelo Vs Khan Preview And Prediction

“I like you. You have a goal, and you have the balls to reach that goal. You have this blind, stupid belief in yourself.” -Reverend Fred Sultan

Whether it’s an unscrupulous boxing promoter in “The Great White Hype” speaking to the guy trying to take him down, or me thinking about Amir Khan, the point holds. Amir Khan is a world-class fighter, and a top 5-ish contender at welterweight, or One-Four-Seven as he calls it. That he has managed to secure himself a career high payday challenging for Canelo Alvarez’s lineal middleweight title in a fight he believes he can win is a testament to his blind, stupid belief in himself. Quite frankly, Khan is fucking delusional. He always has been. But I’m starting to like that about him.

I’m really not sure why I started hating him. It might be the Cobra Kai style shouts he emits whenever throwing a punch. It might be his endless whining. It might be the fights (and rematches) he avoided or delayed waiting on the payday he believed he deserved, but really never earned. It’s damn sure never been about his in ring performance. Khan is entertaining as hell. He’s fast, idiotically fearless (idiotically being the operative word), and always one left hook from having his legs turn to overcooked linguini. There’s a lot to like.

If Khan (31-3, 19 KO) was facing a top welterweight Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on HBO Pay-Per-View, I’d probably be talking myself into how he’d win. But he isn’t. He’s facing lineal middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO) at an odious catchweight of 155 pounds (known colloquially as Canelo-weight). On paper, it isn’t a competitive fight. It won’t be one in reality, either.

Canelo Alvarez has spent the last few years developing into a well-rounded fighter. At just 25, we’ve actually gotten the chance to watch him mature. That we’ve watched him do it as he made millions of dollars is a testament to his looks, promotional push, and absurdly devoted fan base. But here we are in 2016, and the leaden footed ginger has become a polished fighter.

I have been skeptical of Alvarez at every stage of his career, with good reason. He had ONE win over a top contender before getting matched with Floyd Mayweather three years ago. And he got embarrassed by Mayweather in an oddly passive performance. But the 22-year-old Alvarez and the 25-year-old Alvarez are not the same fighter. Some of that has been matchmaking, but the confident, fluid, assertive, lead or counter fighter who clearly beat Miguel Cotto last fall is really impressive. The kid has a great chin, terrific timing, and he’s a hard (but not explosive) puncher, so this fight is wasted time for him.

Frankly, it really doesn’t matter that Alvarez would get curb stomped by the best fighter in his division (Gennady Golovkin). And it really doesn’t matter that Khan got starched at lightweight (by Breidis Prescott eight years ago), and junior welterweight (by Danny Garcia three years ago), and that his signature win at welterweight is Devon Alexander (who isn’t in the top 10 anymore). And it really doesn’t matter that we already know what’s going to happen. I could wax idiotic about Khan’s hand speed and combinations, and Canelo’s chin and timing for 10,000 words.

None of that matters. What the fight boils down to is size, talent and skill. Alvarez is bigger, better and equally skilled. Khan will look sharp early. He always does. He’ll flit in and out firing ratatat combinations. HBO’s Jim Lampley will refer to his speed as “blinding” at least a few times. But Alvarez will adjust to the speed and get Khan’s timing down, and then the Bolton fighter will be undone, because Amir Khan only knows how to fight back. Khan will ignore defense in an effort to get Alvarez off of him, and Alvarez will make him pay dearly. Then Khan will get walked down and knocked out.

Prediction: Alvarez by mid round KO.