Wednesday, May 18, 2016

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::05.18.16:: Canelo vs. Khan

It may have been tempting to pick Amir Khan and his blazing hand-speed, skill, or experience over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the requisite Mexican boxing showcase on Cinco de Mayo weekend, but the outcome was the only real prediction anyone could reasonably (if not sensibly) give. Alas, for all of Khan's superlatives, his chin has been his greatest weakness—if not his most distinct attribute. Granted, he was moving up in weight, Canelo had his trademark power, and it may be difficult to find to many pugilists that could've beaten the count after such a shot, but with the Brit, it was much more of a "when" than "if"…

However, that was not the only kink that undid the former super lightweight world champion. His standing in front of Canelo and throwing a few combos was as poor a tactic as could have been formulated against him. Khan's time in the ring likely would have been elongated had he used his feet much more and relied on his jab work not only to better set-up said combos, but to frustrate Canelo and prevent him from settling in and finding a way to turn the tide. Indeed, that would happen when Khan's early crisp sharpshooting began to be steadily overturned by Canelo figuring him out past the 3rd. He was able to quickly taking advantage of his un-dynamic approach by renewing his assertiveness and applying his will with little resistance or change on Khan's part. The latter's seeming reluctance over applying stronger ring generalship or being a bit more bold might have been borne out of caution over his chin and new weight class, but such a level of caution applied served him no favors, either.

While Canelo Alvarez showed "discernible" growth as a fighter in his Nov. 2015 victory over Miguel Cotto, his work in the follow-up showed that he still remains a firm work-in-progress. A more seasoned and better-developed Canelo would have exploited Khan much sooner than he did. He was too green and unprepared to face a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in 2013 and almost three years later, he has advanced but so much. In his current form, he is more of a "world-class" physical talent than a skilled one. That distinction may not serve him well against his opponent-apparent, Gennady Golovkin, who not only can match Canelo's power, but is a more able and skilled fighter, as well. And in a match that could, feasibly, see either men get knocked-out, the edge would go to Golovkin.

Given his slow growth, I would go as far as to say that Canelo could use a change of scenery and obtain someone that could truly get him up-to-speed. However, most assuredly, Khan needs to cut ties with his current trainer, Virgil Hunter, who seems to develop outlines for him that has made fights harder than they need be and has hamstrung his abilities by having him fight too conservatively or below his capabilities. In spite of a 5-1 record under him, his performances and effectiveness have often felt Sisyphean. Choosing the most suitable trainer seems to not be one of Khan's finest suits—currently on his fourth— either, but one does wonder if a John David Jackson, who managed to tap water from the ostensible deserts of Sergey Kovalev and Chris Algieri (sans his most recent outing vs. Errol Spence, Jr.…), could do the same for the former wonder…

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