By Clive Bernath: Amir Khan knows exactly what he has to do when he challenges Mexican boxing icon Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night, and that is to win clearly beyond any reasonable doubt.
Not only is the 29 year-old Briton a huge underdog when he challenges for the WBC middleweight title, he is also jumping two weight divisions and has the added disadvantage of being the away fighter.
A high profile fight is always a big attraction in Vegas but when it coincides with a Mexican holiday weekend and involves such a formidable fan favourite as ‘Canelo’ then any chance of a fair shake on the judges scorecards becomes far more difficult to achieve.
Let us not forget that it was in Las Vegas that Alvarez somehow was gifted a 114-114 draw by one judge against Floyd Mayweather Jr when he was so obviously out-boxed. Another time he was awarded a split decision win over Erislandy Lara when some ringside observers thought Lara deserved the decision.
Speaking at the pre fight press conference on Tuesday Khan said: "I really have to win it quite clearly. It’s not about winning it closely. I want to win it and I don’t want people thinking ’Oh, it was a close fight, it could have gone either way’.
"I want to win it clearly, winning it with a couple of rounds at least. I’m also the ’away’ fighter."
Although the fight is made at a catchweight of 155lbs Khan will have to rely on his speed and power and sees the fight developing into more of a Chess match , where patience is the order of the day
"It’s going to be like a game of chess at times," Khan said. "He’s going to be putting a lot of pressure on me, pushing me back, but we just have to be smart in there.
"There are a few things we’re going to be doing differently in this fight. The feinting, the movement - but movement’s not in the sense where we’re going to be running around the ring, it’s about making the right moves.
"I don’t want to be burning too much energy. Will I have that much energy by running away all 12 rounds? I’m going to have to stand there at times and trade with him."
That last statement is hugely revealing because so much in the past Khan has abandoned his hugely underated boxing skills in favour of going to war. Khan’s fighting heart has never been in question but he is not a natural brawler at the highest level and certainly not when campaigning against a naturally strong 155lbs fighter such as Alvarez. That is why Khan needs to focus on his boxing skills, get on his bike and box. If he can do that and maintain his discipline for 12 rounds and control the pace I believe he can produce the biggest shock in world boxing since Lloyd Honeyghan toppled Don Curry in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1986 and Buster Douglas ko’d the seemingly indestructible Mike Tyson in 1990.
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May 4, 2016