In the end, things played out as most expected, despite the somewhat far-fetched possibility of victory for Bolton’s biggest star.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KO’s) knocked out former junior welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan (31-4, 19 KO’s) in the 6th round of a 12-round middleweight contest with a single overhand right that dropped the English fighter and left him unconscious on the canvas.
The pair stood across the ring from each other Saturday night, May 7, at the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout was for Alvarez’ WBC middleweight strap.
Khan started off utilizing his speed and movement to box circles around Alvarez, who experienced a certain degree of difficulty dealing with Khan’s quickness. For every one punch Alvarez would throw, Khan would come back with 3-4 punch combinations, hastily darting out when finished.
Khan boxed intelligently and for a while, it was really working out well for him. But sustaining that kind of pace the entire fight seemed to become less likely by the 5th round, when Khan started to show signs of fatigue.
All of a sudden Alvarez began landing some big shots and although Khan took them very well, there was a growing sense that a really big shot could come at any moment that could put Khan down for good.
Towards the end of the 6th, Alvarez launched an overhand right just as Khan was coming in with a combination. The monster of a punch landed right on the jaw of Khan whose punch resistance was already suspect heading into the bout.
Khan was out before he hit the floor.
Referee Kenny Bayless didn’t even bother to count him down, waving the fight off at 2:37 of round 6.
It has become a familiar scene for Khan, whenever he is faced with big punchers. One has to wonder how long he can keep with this kind of career if he is unable to handle power.
Little known Breidis Prescott did the exact same thing to Khan back in 2008, while WBC welterweight titlist Danny Garcia replicated the feat in 2012. Both losses for Khan were devastating, concussive knockout setbacks that left Khan separated from his senses, eyes rolled back and all.
And it’s not like Khan is always faced with big punchers. Light hitting Chris Algieri was able to hurt Khan a handful of times in their welterweight tiff in May of 2015. Algieri has just 8 knockouts out of 21 victories and was known for lacking power. Yet he was able to expose Khan’s chin.
There are fighters who can take punishment very well, and then there are those who just can’t handle it. By now, it’s no secret Khan belongs to the latter.
Furthermore, you can’t ‘learn’ better punch resistance, a fighter can only improve defense and technique. And this is boxing, everyone gets hit. If Khan can’t take the heat, where does he go from here?
His division rivals all pack some serious power. Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Kell Brook, and even Tim Bradley have shown the ability to hurt their opponents. How Khan can handle that if he faces any of those names, one can only wonder.
At 29-years of age, Khan is young and undoubtedly feels that he still has a career ahead of him.
However, humans just can’t go through this much head trauma before contracting some sort of permanent damage.
Although Khan’s skill and talent has taken him from being an Olympic silver medalist to a pro-boxing world champion, he just could never take a punch which should be a prerequisite for professional fighters.
If Khan continues with his career, which would most likely be the case, the guys in and around his division will know that all they need to do is land one clean shot and it’s lights out.
Alvarez did just that Saturday night. He looked for that one big shot and as soon as it landed, it was over.
Khan is young, but for his sake, he should seriously consider calling it a day.
For Alvarez, the victory sets up a possible showdown with undefeated Kazakh middleweight star Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, who holds the WBA, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles. Alvarez holds the WBC version of the strap and motioned to Golovkin, who was sitting ringside, for a much-clamored for unification bout.
After the fight, Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter urged Alvarez to make the fight with Golovkin, and to take a risk just like Khan did in fighting him.
“Quit hiding,” said Hunter. – By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB