Oscar De La Hoya, a man who knows something about the dangers of a quicker man taking on a bigger one, says Amir Khan can beat his “golden boy” Saul Alvarez despite the significant size disparity.
“Amir must adhere absolutely to his game plan,” De La Hoya insists. “He will have to fight the perfect fight. If he does that, if he stays on the outside and moves from side to side and uses that speed of his, in and out, he not only wins but wins easily.”
Canelo Alvarez enters the bout as perhaps a natural 154-pounder while his British opponent probably fights most comfortably at 140. Khan’s hand speed helps him overcome this disadvantage but his aggressive style does not. Stopped by Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia, Khan faces a much bigger puncher in Alvarez, so he must avoid, as De La Hoya counsels, the impulse to trade.
Though they compete for the lineal middleweight title Alvarez won from Miguel Cotto, the pair must weigh in at 155-pounds—a pound less and the stakes cannot include the belt and a pound more and they violate the contractual stipulation aiding the smaller Khan. Although the favored (3-to-1) Mexican boxes as a smallish middleweight, Khan now generally boxes as a smallish welterweight. Still, De La Hoya, perhaps doing his job as a promoter to make the bout look more competitive than it appears to bookies, regards Khan as a live dog.
“Sugar Ray Leonard went up to fight the awesome Marvin Hagler and everyone feared for his life because of the natural difference,” De La Hoya reminds of the smaller man’s split-decision victory. “But Amir will be fine as long as he resists the urge to engage with Canelo.”
That sounds more like the promoter De La Hoya speaking than the fighter De La Hoya. A puffed-out De La Hoya struggled to decision Felix Sturm in his first foray at middleweight and suffered a delayed-reaction knockout loss to Bernard Hopkins after taking a body shot in the ninth of their 2004 bout. Learning his lesson, De La Hoya dropped down to 154 for solid fights against Ricardo Mayorga and Floyd Mayweather, then battered a blown-up Steve Forbes at 150, and looked like a small, shrunken 147 in his final fight against Manny Pacquiao.
While Khan inherits De La Hoya’s role as the quicker man taking on the stronger man, Alvarez takes over his spot as the cash cow of Cinco de Mayo Weekend. The pair fight on May 7 in Las Vegas.