Keith Thurman has given his thoughts to WBN on divisional rival Amir Khan accepting a mammoth challenge against WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on May 7.
Eyebrows were raised considerably when Khan announced his intention to move up eight pounds to face Canelo at 155lbs despite not really having fought a full-grown welterweight during his career.
Victory for Khan would place the Briton back in the pound for pound elite of boxing for the first time since his days as unified champion at 140lbs and Thurman says the Bolton man must box smart in order to upset the odds.
“I wasn’t shocked by Khan fighting Canelo. It’s was surprising I guess, but obviously, these fighters have agreed to fight each other. A lot of people may say that it’s an easy fight for Canelo, but it all depends,” Thurman exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I believe Amir Khan has seen things in Canelo that makes him believe that he can win this fight. What is it that he has seen that gives him the confidence to step up and take this fight? – Possibly Floyd Mayweather’s victory.
“The thing is, Floyd Mayweather was able to defeat Canelo Alvarez, even though he’s smaller. Mayweather is a more intelligent fighter than Canelo. He proved it and he dominated in the performance.
“Another thing is that Canelo Alvarez just fought Miguel Cotto. And at one point, Amir Khan and Miguel Cotto were both at the Wild Card sparring under Freddie Roach, so I believe he knows how much better his boxing skills are than Miguel Cotto’s.
“Cotto did okay in the Canelo fight, but he didn’t do anything spectacular, and he got caught with too many big overhand rights. But the fact that Cotto didn’t get stopped and Mayweather didn’t get stopped, I think Amir Khan believes that if he doesn’t allow Canelo to sit down on his punch, that he might get hit, but he’s not going to get hurt.
“Throughout the three minute rounds, Khan will try to do enough to win it over the judges. I believe the real strategy for Khan is to not impress the fans. I’m not saying don’t be impressive, I’m not saying don’t box smart, I’m just saying that the fight fans might not like Amir Khan’s performance in the fight.
“But if I’m Amir Khan, to have my hand raised at the end of the day, to me that has to be my ultimate goal. He just has to put on a beautiful performance for twelve rounds,” he added.