Amir Khan boxed beautifully and was an ace ring general on Saturday at the brand new T-Mobile (AEG/MGM) Arena in Vegas. His hand speed edge was considerable, his mobility advantage was paying healthy dividends…And then the right hand by Canelo Alvarez clipped him, sent him down like he'd been tased. The ref didn't finish a count, as his head slammed on the mat, and his eyes were glassed over.
Canelo froze him, and Khan was mummified, in round six, those five rounds of top tier sweet science funneled down the drain.
Khan started a jab, but halted it, and it was too late to block. The right came, after Canelo faked a jab, and the Mexican timed it to perfection, mustard and jalapeño on it. It exploded, landing on the Brit's chin, immediately scrambling synapses, disastrously for the loser.
The WBC middleweight belt held by Canelo was up for grabs in this catchweight showdown.
Looking to boost his legacy immensely, Khan (age 29; 155 on Friday; from Bolton, England) came in at 31-3. The game's top PPV draw Canelo (age 25; 155; from Mexico) was 46-1.
In the first, Khan was a smart ring general. A sharp right and lightning jab scored early, while a left hook landed on Khan sharply midway through.
In the second, Khan moved well. His combos looked sharp and flowed well. He made Canelo look silly missing.
In the third, another tight round. Khan kept moving and Canelo plodded some.
In the fourth, the hand speed stood out. Khan's quickness spoke to the judges. One, two, three shots from the Brit.
In the fifth, we saw a cut on the Khan right eye. He'd explode with a three punch combo, keep Canelo from advancing, keep the distance to his liking. You had to be wondering if just maybe Khan could keep up this gameplan to get the W.
In round six, the right landed and down went Khan, out. No more wondering… Canelo went right over, concerned, a good sportsman.
The principals spoke after:
“He is a fast fighter, and I knew things would be complicated in beginning, but I knew they would come to my favor as the fight went on,” said Canelo Álvarez. “People have known me only for my power. I have many more qualities in the ring, and I showed that. I think people saw more of me tonight. Someone that comes in to box gives you more trouble and someone that comes right in is a little easier to fight.”
“I want to thank everyone for coming,” said Amir “King” Khan. “I think it's time for Canelo to step up to GGG, just like I stepped up to fight him. I tried as much as I could and trained very hard for this fight. Unfortunately, I didn't get the result I wanted. Although I feel strong at this weight, I am naturally a lighter fighter and plan to go back down to welterweight. But, I like to challenge myself and that is why I took this fight. I want to be the best, and to be the best I have to fight the best.”
“That was the most devastating knockout I have seen from Canelo,” said Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “I believe it was more devastating than the Kirkland knockout.”