Canelo Alvarez Finishes Amir Khan With a Single Right Hand
It was only a matter of time until Canelo Alvarez found the shot he needed to end Amir Khan. Now it’s hopefully only a matter of time until Alvarez steps into the ring with Gennady Golovkin.
Alvarez laid Khan out with a right hand in the sixth round of their pay-per-view main event this past Saturday, bringing an inevitable conclusion to what was otherwise a brave effort from Khan. The smaller man had tried to use speed and movement to evade and frustrate the larger Alvarez. Canelo didn’t just have power, however. He also had the technique to set up his finishing blow and the skill to deliver it.
The prevailing wisdom was that Alvarez needed only to land in order to knock Khan out. Khan was a 147-pounder who had stepped up to challenge Alvarez for the middleweight championship. Even though they’d agreed to fight at 155 pounds — five pounds below the middleweight limit — Khan was still coming in at a disadvantage.
That was especially true given that Khan had been knocked out by hard punchers before: against Breidis Prescott in 2008 and Danny Garcia in 2012. Alvarez was even bigger, and so too would be his power. The strategy for Khan, then, had to be one of staying away from danger, moving in to deliver fast flurries and then getting back out of range.
Khan was able to get Canelo’s respect early on, landing a good one-two combination in the first round. He was making Alvarez miss. He was flashing his hand speed, still quite quick with the additional weight on his frame, though not as blinding as when he was lighter. Alvarez continued to come forward, often aiming for the body to try to slow Khan down. Khan was also able to handle the shots that did land upstairs.
While Khan was doing enough to survive — and even to win the first two rounds on two of the three judges’ scorecards — he wasn’t breaking Alvarez down. You can make a fighter miss, but you also need to make him pay. If you don’t make him pay, he’ll keep throwing until he lands.
Alvarez began to land with more frequency. Khan also began to move less. The knockout blow came when Alvarez feinted with a jab. Khan didn’t try to dodge it. Instead, he tried to parry it away with both of his hands. That left his chin unprotected for the right hand that followed. Khan was out on his way down and done the moment his head bounced off the mat.
Khan dropped, quite literally, to 31-4 with 19 KOs. He’d spent years hoping for a big fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and then with Manny Pacquiao, only to face neither. Now he’ll likely take some time off before returning to the welterweight division and working his way toward a title shot there.
Alvarez’s victory brought his record to 47-1-1 with 33 KOs. He’s not been afraid to fight the best in the past; his lone loss came to Mayweather in 2013. The best at middleweight is Golovkin. While Canelo is considered the true champion of the division — he is the guy who beat the previous champ, who beat the champ before that, and so on — Golovkin is considered the best fighter at 160 until proven otherwise.
Canelo hasn’t fought at 160. His past five fights have been at an agreed-upon limit of 155 pounds. Golovkin insists that he won’t drop down in weight to face Alvarez. This will be just one of the many items that will need to be worked out in negotiations.
Golovkin isn’t Alvarez’s only option. There’s also a possibility of a rematch with Miguel Cotto, for example. But there’s a reason Canelo called Golovkin into the ring after knocking out Khan: He, too, wants the fight to be made.
That’s the hard part. They’ll have to make a deal before they can go to battle.
Other Action From the Pay-Per-View Undercard:
Former 160-pound titleholder David Lemieux stopped Glen Tapia in the fourth round, getting back in the win column some seven months after he lost his title belt to Gennady Golovkin. Lemieux floored Tapia in the fourth, the first time that Tapia had been knocked down as a pro. Tapia quickly rose, but one of his trainers had seen enough of what he realized was a mismatch and got up onto the canvas to ask the referee to end the fight. Lemieux is now 35-3 with 32 KOs. Tapia has lost two in a row and is now 23-3 with 15 KOs.
Welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez picked up the biggest win of his career, pitching a shutout in a unanimous decision victory over Mauricio Herrera. Gomez outworked Herrera, a good fighter who had given Danny Garcia plenty of trouble in 2014 but who did not look his best this past Saturday. Gomez moves to 21-0 with 13 KOs, while Herrera falls to 22-6 with 7 KOs.
Middleweight fighter Curtis Stevens scored a second-round technical knockout of previously undefeated Patrick Teixeira, dropping him hard with a right hand after Teixeira landed a left uppercut from too far away. Teixeira got up but looked too unsteady for the referee to allow the fight to continue. Stevens, fighting for the first time since an October 2012 decision loss to Hassan N’Dam, is now 28-5 with 21 KOs. Teixeira is now 26-1 with 22 KOs.