Why Did Canelo Pick Khan?


By Sean Crose

Okay, now that we’re all settling into the stunning fact that Canelo Alvarez will be facing Amir Khan for the middleweight title in May, it’s time to ask the glaring question that’s on everyone’s mind:

Why did Canelo pick Khan?

He could, after all, have faced GGG in a fight die hards have wanted for months. Frankly, however, Canelo hasn’t seemed so eager to face the Kazakh terror – at least not for the money he would be guaranteed for it. Indeed, there’s a lot more money in Khan, so there’s that. Is there something else afoot here, however?

Let’s face it, Khan doesn’t have much chance of winning this one. Canelo is simply too big and too strong for the bulked up welterweight (that’s right, Khan’s been a welterweight lately) to instill confidence of an upset. That doesn’t mean an upset can’t happen. Khan is a very skilled fighter, after all. Still, the odds are heavily – heavily – in Canelo’s favor.

And for good reason.

So, what’s going on here? Are Canelo and his team simply looking for the biggest payday possible? Without doubt, Khan will bring in a lot of green here. I may be stretching, but I feel that this one may haul in close to a million pay per view buys. The combination of a Mexican superstar, a British superstar, America’s glitziest piece of real estate (you just know this one’s going down in Vegas) and Cinco De Mayo weekend simply has the sound of a slot machine payout to it.

Canelo still wants to look competitive, though, doesn’t he? Well, that’s a somewhat interesting question. Canelo’s mandated to fight GGG for his WBC and lineal middleweight championship, after all. A lot of people are thinking he’s going to lose that one if it happens. Could Canelo and/or his team simply be trying to cash in here while the goings good?

I’ve no idea, frankly, but I think it’s worth pondering the fact that Canelo might have pretty much peaked as a fighter, that he hasn’t really grown a lot skill-wise over the past few years. Sure, he looked big, strong and fast against Miguel Cotto last fall, but did Canelo show us anything new when he won the middleweight crown that night?

If we’re to be perfectly honest, we have to admit that Canelo has proven himself thus far to be an essentially A-minus level fighter. That’s a hell of an achievement, but it doesn’t help you land a glove on Floyd Mayweather. It might also prove to be dangerous when you’re told you have to face the likes of Golovkin down the road.

Is it possible that Canelo, or at least his team (including – perhaps especially – his promoter, Oscar De L Hoya) know that the writing’s on the wall? Is there an awareness that the future consists of either getting wiped out by GGG or suffering the humiliation of perceived Adonis Stevenson style avoidance? Is that why they’re trying to score the mother lode with what should be a potentially challenging (Khan’s slick style could possibly frustrate Canelo) but largely winnable bout with Khan?

There’s a fine line between cynical thinking and reasonable thinking. And it seems reasonable right now to consider this a possibility – while being aware of the fact that it’s only just a possibility. Yet, as has been stated publicly by greater minds than my own, fighting Khan will in no way prepare Canelo for a potential fight with Golovkin – something which may give an astute fight fan pause.

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