By Sean Crose
It was easy to assume the whole thing was a joke. There it was, right there on Twitter: “Proud to announce on May 7th, 2016 @canelo will return to the ring to face @amirkingkhan #CaneloKhan.” This came, believe it or not, from Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya’s own page. The announcement was even accompanied by a slick YouTube promo. This was no joke, however. It was legitimate news.
Yup, Canelo Alvarez is going to fight Amir Khan this spring. Surprise, surprise.
News of the bout, which will reportedly be held at 155 pounds, is clearly a shock to a fight world which had no idea it was coming. Canelo has been taking criticism lately for a perceived unwillingness to get in the ring with Gennady Golovkin. As for Khan, he’s been seen as being forever a bridesmaid but never a bride.
Indeed, after waiting what seemed to be an eternity for a bout with either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, Khan finally appeared to be in line to face either Danny Garcia or fellow Englishman Kell Brook. The fact that the welterweight Khan is going to move up somewhere between junior middleweight and middleweight is somewhat stunning in and of itself.
While the fight world is all abuzz at the moment, things may quickly subside into a discussion on whether or not Khan is worthy opposition for the bigger Alvarez’ middleweight title. Khan, after all, stands at 5’9 and has until recently fought in the 147 lb range. Canelo, on the other hand, stands at essentially the same height, but has fought at a considerably larger weight recently – especially, it seems, when he actually enters the ring after a re-hydration process.
Still, the former British Olympian is fast and skilled and has been dying for a huge payday. He’s also very well known and popular, which is why this fight most certainly makes sense from a business standpoint. What’s odd, however, is the fact that Khan is aligned with boxing guru Al Haymon while Canelo is firmly in the camp of competitor, Golden Boy.
Could it be that Haymon, with rumors of financial challenges surrounding him, is now willing to work more frequently with other promoters? Or is Khan’s legal standing with Haymon such that he can more or less pick and choose who he fights, as has been stated? Questions such as these will probably be discussed endlessly in the weeks and months ahead.
Without doubt, however, this is the first major news to come out of the fight world in a while. And there’s little doubt the bout itself will attract major attention.