Canelo Alvarez walked into the ring on May 7 as the biggest name in boxing in the post Mayweather-Pacquiao era. The Cinco de Mayo weekend has long been the biggest stage for boxing, with Mexican fans being such a driving force in the boxing world. Mexico has a strong history of great fighters and Canelo walked in looking to take another step to solidify himself as a boxing icon of this era. He was a heavy favorite against his opponent, Amir Khan, who was having his first fight as a middleweight. A loss for Canelo would have been a huge setback for his career and would have put the anticipated fight against Gennady Golovkin on hold.
Amir Khan came in looking to take the next step in his career to superstardom. He came into boxing as a well-known prospect who was seen as a fighter who could be a champion for years to come. The beginning of his career providing few doubts of his ability, as he showed tremendous hand speed and footwork. However, as he has made his way into bigger fights he has gotten reckless and opened himself up to big shots. He suffered a few big knockouts that set back his career. He found his way back, but was not given the chance by either Pacquiao or Mayweather to show that he belonged at the top of the sport. Canelo gave him this chance by offering him a shot at the middleweight title.
When the fight started, Amir Khan showed his superior technical skill and speed to move around Canelo while hitting him with combinations. Although Khan was hitting him with good punches, Canelo barely seemed to notice them. Through the first five rounds, Khan was ahead but Alvarez had landed a few thudding body shots and it seemed just a matter of time before he caught Khan with a really solid punch. The moment came in the sixth round. Canelo landed a crushing right hook that sent Khan to the canvas and the ref stopped the fight without even counting Khan out. With the knockout, Alvarez now has two career-defining knockouts plus a win against future hall of famer Miguel Cotto.
At the end of the fight, Alvarez and his team went to the ropes waving at Gennady Golovkin, who was sitting ringside, inviting him into the ring. When asked in the post-fight interview, Canelo said “I fear no one in this sport. I’ll fight him now. Let’s put the gloves on and get in there with him.” Golovkin also tweeted “I am ready, Canelo.” After an era where the biggest fight took years to make and both fighters evaded the subject, it is refreshing that the biggest stars are accepting the challenge and both seem eager to fight.
Hopefully the promoters do not try to stretch this out—the boxing world is ready for this fight now.