In a Brutally, Scary KO, Alvarez, Retains His WBC Middleweight Title.
By: Ronald Neal Goldman
It was really a matter of when and not if. Though few actually believed that Amir Khan (34-4) had a chance of defeating Canelo Alvarez (47-1), the Britain’s efforts were admirable, if not telling of Canelo’s questionable defensive skills and under average speed. Amir won at least four of the six opening rounds against Alvarez- a notoriously slow starter – with quick leg work and even quicker hand speed. Drawing from the Mayweather – and by extension Lara- blueprint, Khan’s speed served him well and was able to frustrate Canelo with harmless if not frustrating combinations, actually forcing a visibly uncomfortable looking Alvarez to backtrack and clearly demonstrate his inability to match Khan’s speed. Canelo was able, eventually, to secure his range, and with body punches in the fourth and fifth rounds, crippled Khan’s elusiveness he capitalized upon in the early rounds and set him up with a devastating right that seemed to have begun in England and found its target in Las Vegas. Judging from the duration of time that Kahn was down, I suppose whatever happens in Vegas, really does stay in Vegas, at least on the canvas.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Knowing Alvarez’s power and Khan’s Kleenex constructed chin, it really wasn’t difficult to portend the outcome of last night’s PPV debacle. What was surprising and definitely worth the price of admission, was the post fight interview not with Canelo, but with Khan, and, more decisively, with trainer, Virgil Hunter. While it was unusually sportsmanlike for Saul Alvarez drop to a knee to compassionately access the damage he inflicted on his overmatched, albeit, resolute opponent, it was Hunter who threw boxing’s political correctness to the wind. He spoke admirably of Khan’s decision to have taken the risk and challenge Mexico’s heir apparent to Julio Cesar Chavez, almost two weight classes above himself. Echoing Khan’s words to Alvarez to grow a pair, respectfully, of course, Hunter chased Canelo,out of his catch weight comfort zone and hinted at Golden Boy’s perverted moral code of competitiveness by keeping their proverbial cash cow from cashing in their chips and heed the wishes of the fans’ dream fight to challenge the most dangerous, career ending fighter on the planet; Gennady Golovkin.
If you’re attuned to the fight game as I, and not merely an occasional fan, then it’s pitifully obvious that if Canelo were so inclined to fight triple G, he would make it happen; handlers are supposed to respect the requests of their charges, not the other way around. Canelo’s rant, “ I fear no one in this sport” is all well and good if you’re promoting a WWE or MMA show. It’s what Canelo did not say last night to Gennady to– his –face– that he would fight him not as a catchweight, as was the case in his last five fights, but at the 160 pounds, the universally recognized poundage of a Middleweight.
As a fighter’s ego is so much part of the sweet science, part of the blame for not confronting Canelo in a way to force his hand goes to Max Kellerman, who perfunctorily asked Canelo if he would fight the number one challenger for the title, at which point genuflecting to Golden Boy suits, and once again evading the issue, Saul gave the I’m not afraid of anyone spiel. Kellerman unfortunately did not press the issue to the chagrin of boxing fans everywhere, Max’s refusal to confront Canelo demonstrates the difference between himself and Showtime’s fearless interviewer, Jim Grey who surely would not have let it go until he either shamed Canelo into agreeing to the match, or confess his reluctance to face Gannady. With HBO’S commentator, Canelo of course chose the path of least resistance: just evade the question, by not answering the question. In my college classroom it’s called A T F Q- as in Answer the — Question.
A key component of Donald Trump’s popularity across the board- whether you agree or not–is that he says what has to be said. Last night’s boxing show was more than one fighter’s attempt to regain his stature among boxing’s elite and another to prove he is elite’s best; it was, more importantly, a referendum on the spirit of true competitiveness and the spoken last word should be from the competitor and no one else.