Less than 24 hours after Saul Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in Las Vegas Saturday night, inaccurate narratives about the fight had already begun to emerge among the fans on social media. Both fighters were being given too much credit from some, not enough from others.
Khan deserves respect for being a game fighter and for attempting to execute an intelligent plan of battle. But the assessment I am seeing from some fans, that Khan could have won a decision if only he had avoided the big punch, is not accurate.
Khan fought extremely well in the first two rounds. I had him winning the third, but already in that round, Canelo was starting to close off the ring and land to the body. In Round 4, Alvarez started to take control of the fight. By Round 5, Khan was moving around the ring much less and fighting much more flat-footed. The KO was inevitable at that point, and it came near the end of Round 6.
A fighter Khan’s size would need the defensive skills and ring IQ of Floyd Mayweather to survive 12 rounds against an offensive fighter with Canelo’s size and technical ability. It was clear by the time Khan got caught that it also had no chance of winning.
At the same time, I’ve seen some sentiment that Canelo was “exposed” simply because he lost a couple of rounds to a vulnerable fighter. While I do want to give Canelo a limited amount of credit for stopping a fighter who had been stopped twice previously at 135 and 140 pounds, his performance against Khan did demonstrate intelligent, patient aggression and an improved ability to cut off the ring against quick-footed opponents.
As a final note, I want to bring attention to the score cards. Last Wednesday, I wrote a column noting the fact that Alvarez has been on the receiving end of absurdly lopsided scorecards in most of his biggest fights. This was shaping up to be the case again against Khan. Glen Trowbridge had the Mexican star leading four rounds to one at the time of the stoppage. While this ended up being irrelevant, it should still be pointed out as stunningly inept.