Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions
Many in boxing are hopeful that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico will take on fellow middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin sometime this year in a title-unification bout. Meantime, Alvarez will make the first defense of his championship belt when he tangles with Amir Khan of England on May 7, most likely at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The arena is under construction and expected to be finished in time to host the bout, which will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
The middleweight limit is 160 pounds, but the fight will be contested at a catch-weight of 155. Khan has never fought above welterweight, which is 147 pounds.
“As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport and on Cinco De Mayo weekend, I look forward to making the first defense of my title,” said Alvarez, 25. “Amir was a decorated amateur, a two-time world champion and is in the prime of his career. Fans are in for a great fight on May 7.”
Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) won a super lightweight world title in July 2009 and added another belt to that when he beat Zab Judah in a title-unification fight in July 2011. Khan moved up to welterweight in April 2013 and has had four fights at that weight.
The fighters are going to say every positive thing they can to promote this fight. It’s boxing, and that’s what they do. But it will be interesting to see how this bout is received by fans who know only too well that there is nothing dangerous about it for Alvarez, who is the larger fighter and won’t have to worry much about being knocked out by a fighter who was a 135-pound lightweight until 2009.
But Khan does have a name in the sport, and he is an exciting fighter to behold.
“I know ‘Canelo’ fights the best and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to face me like others have,” said Khan, 29. “My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters. That is why I’m excited for this fight. … I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve on May 7.”
Oscar De La Hoya will promote this fight under his Golden Boy Promotions banner. He is pumping this as Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) taking on the “best” the sweet science has to offer.
“We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing,” De La Hoya said. “‘Canelo’ is the biggest star in the sport and as he demonstrated against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto last year, he is only getting better.
“Those who predicted that he would take an easy fight for his first defense have been proven wrong once again.”
Alvarez knocked out Kirkland in the third round this past May in Houston and then won his middleweight title when he took a unanimous decision over Cotto in November in Las Vegas.