WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman runs the rule over this weekend’s massive Las Vegas clash between Canelo Alvarez and his own divisional rival Amir Khan.
Thurman, who defends his belt against Shawn Porter next month, has a vested interest in seeing how Khan deals with the move up to 155 pounds when the Briton challenges Canelo for the WBC middleweight belt.
Canelo, 25, begins a huge favourite to defeat Khan having lost just once in 47 bouts and holding bonafide titles in two weight classes. But as Thurman pointed out, the Mexican can be frustrated with the correct tactics.
“We saw Erislandy Lara box beautifully against Canelo Alvarez, but he was not really putting in enough work-rate and he was running at little too much,” Thurman exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Lara was back-pedalling too much without landing enough blows and landing that powerful straight left hand, counter left-hand or doing something to make Canelo stumble backwards. He just really didn’t make a statement, especially in the later rounds and he was just on his bicycle. I think Erislandy Lara was a little timid and worried about those body shots and big right hooks coming from Canelo Alvarez.
“Amir Khan does tend to be easier to hit in the later rounds, just how Chris Algieri was able to land some nice right hands, so it definitely is a dangerous fight for Amir, but it’s also a big money fight and we have to acknowledge that.
“Canelo could break him down with body shots, and one thing I noticed when he fought Erislandy Lara, was that Lara was moving so much that Canelo got frustrated by it. But in his frustration, what he did was, Canelo didn’t show it too much – emotionally. What I was able to see was that when Canelo threw punches, he was like, ‘oh, you’re going to move, oh, you’re going to run? Well I got a big right hand and big left hook, so I’m going to give you something to run from!
“I personally know what that emotion is like, because as an amateur, I used to get frustrated when people would run around the ring a lot. I would do the same thing and I would squeeze my gloves as hard as I could and be like, ‘oh yeah, but when I hit you, yeah you’re going to keep running because you’re going to feel a brick fist behind this glove!’
“So, Amir Khan is going to have to run away from some flying bricks come that night, but he does have the boxing intelligence and he is an Olympian. So he just really has to not drop his defense, keep up his movement and he has to put on a beautiful performance for twelve rounds.
“For Canelo, I don’t know what he is going to do. Is he going to focus on actually winning every round? Or is Canelo going to let Amir Khan dance around and wait for him to slow down to look for the knockout?
“We will see what happens on fight night,” he added.
Thurman could find himself in the mix to meet either or both of this weekend’s headliners at some point in the future, but needs to take care of Porter on June 25 in order to push his name further into the pound for pound mix.