Surprise boxing news: Canelo Alvarez to fight Amir Khan May 7

Whatever you think of the bout, the surprise announcement is generating far more buzz than the announcement of the Pacquiao vs. Bradley Jr. III fight in April.

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In news that took the boxing world by surprise, Amir Khan (left) will fight Saul
In news that took the boxing world by surprise, Amir Khan (left) will fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (right) in Las Vegas on May 7. Photo Collage: Esther Lin/Will Hart

SAN DIEGO, February 2, 2016 – In an announcement no one anticipated, lineal middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico (46-1-1, 32 KOs) will fight former welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan of Great Britain (31-3-0, 19 KOs) on May 7 in Las Vegas, according to a statement issued by Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

The bout will take place at an agreed upon weight limit of 155 pounds for the WBC World middleweight title, the same as Alvarez’ fight in November against then-lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. The upper middleweight limit is 160 pounds. Khan has fought all but the three of his 34 professional fights at the super lightweight limit of 140 pounds. The last three bouts were at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Khan is current ranked among the top ten welterweights in the division. He is not ranked in the middleweight division.

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (right) and promoter Oscar De La Hoya kept today's big announcement a closed guarded secret. Photo: Golden Boy Promotions
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (right) and promoter Oscar De La Hoya kept today’s big announcement a closed guarded secret. Photo: Golden Boy Promotions

While the venue was formally to be announced according to Golden Boy, BoxRec.com, which is generally an accurate source, shows the venue as the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A Golden Boy spokeswoman tells Communities Digital News this is “premature.” Ticket information is not yet available. The fight will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay Per View.

The announcement drew immediate reaction from the extended boxing community of journalists, bloggers, fans, and athletes themselves with a wide range of opinions, but all surprised by the matchup.


While Alvarez is legitimately the lineal middleweight champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is generally rated and acknowledged as the top boxer in the division. The WBC originally mandated the winner of the Cotto-Canelo fight to face Golovkin, but WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman relented, allowing an interim fight for each man prior to an anticipated Canelo vs. GGG matchup in September.

Gennady Golovkin is the opponent most fans are anxious to see matched up with Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment
Gennady Golovkin is the opponent most fans are anxious to see matched up with Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

Golovkin is still looking for an opponent for a possible bout on April 23. His number one mandatory opponent Tureano Johnson is injured. IBF middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders of Great Britain says he “isn’t ready.” Dominic Wade is being mentioned as the possible choice. He is currently the number two ranked IBF middleweight.

As late as January 23, Amir Khan repeatedly called out potential welterweight opponents such as Floyd Mayweather; the pair sat just a few seats apart at the PBC card at Staples Center. Khan has also called out Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Juan Manuel Marquez. He hasn’t called out fellow Brit and undefeated welterweight Kell “Special K” Brook, a matchup most boxing fans are eager to see.

The fight signals Khan’s return to Golden Boy Promotions, his former home. He recently has been managed by Al Haymon within the Premier Boxing camp. Reports asserting who negotiated the fight with GBP and Alvarez are all over the map, including Haymon “advising” Khan throughout, versus a statement by GBP the relationship is still on the outs; also that Khan’s father went straight to De La Hoya on his behalf.

“I know Canelo fights the best and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to face me like others have,” said Khan. “My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters that is why I’m excited for this fight. Also, I would like to thank my team and Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve on May 7.”

“As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport and on Cinco De Mayo weekend, I look forward to making the first defense of my titles,” said Alvarez. “Amir was a decorated amateur, a two-time world champion and is in the prime of his career. Fans are in for a great fight on May 7.”

“We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing,” said De La Hoya. “Canelo is the biggest star in the sport and as he demonstrated against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto last year, he is only getting better. Those who predicted that he would take an easy fight for his first defense have been proven wrong once again. As for Amir, he has won his last five fights including an incredible performance against Devon Alexander, and now that he is back where he belongs at Golden Boy Promotions, his future is very bright, once again.”

Canelo Alvarez won the WBC middleweight title from Miguel Cotto (right) last November. Photo: Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez won the WBC middleweight title from Miguel Cotto (right) last November. Photo: Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez is among the biggest fan draws in the sport at age 25. He turned professional at age 15. His sole loss is to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. He has since reeled off four victories, including the “Knockout of the Year” against James Kirkland in May 2015 and the decision over Cotto in November. Alvarez was named 2015 “Fighter of the Year” on numerous lists including ESPN and RING Magazine (owned by Golden Boy Promotions) but not Communities Digital News, who selected the man most consider the true middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin.

Amir Khan (left) made his case in Las Vegas against Devon Alexander. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime
Amir Khan (left) made his case in Las Vegas against Devon Alexander in 2014. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime

Bolton, Lancashire native, Amir “King” Khan won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.  Khan competed for his first world title in 2009, winning the WBA Super Lightweight World Champion via a unanimous decision victory.  Khan went on to successfully defend the title five times. Khan added the IBF Super Lightweight World Championship when he knocked out faced Zab “Super” Judah in 2011. Khan then lost a 12-round split decision to Lamont “Havoc” Peterson and another to current welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia in July 2014 by fourth round TKO. He has won five straight bouts since then, the most recent a decision victory over a competitive Chris Algieri in May 2015 at the welterweight limit.

Whatever you think of the bout, it’s generating tremendous discussion, far more than the announcement of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Jr. III fight set in April. It takes plenty of nerve on Khan’s part to step up to this fight, and no matter the outcome he deserves credit for being willing to step into the ring at a higher weight.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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