Huge incentive for Khan in daunting Canelo bout


Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez is the strong favourite to defend his WBC middleweight crown against Amir Khan in Las Vegas on Saturday, but the underdog certainly has plenty to gain as he looks to spring a shock.

Khan (31-3-0) has never previously fought above the welterweight limit of 147lb, but will step up to 155lb - a catchweight five pounds below the middleweight cut-off - when he faces the powerful Alvarez (46-1-1).

The 29-year-old Briton has been praised for taking on such a daunting opponent and Virgil Hunter, Khan's trainer since 2012, is aware a win for his fighter would be highly significant at a time when boxing is seeking to fill the void left by the recent retirements of superstars Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.

Hunter is quoted by the Guardian as saying: "He [Khan] could be the new number one but, in boxing, the promoters and the media, they can say what they want to say. What a fighter's peers say, that is most important because that's where the most respect comes from.

"He can be the man if he wins and he should feel like he's the man. It can do a lot of good things for him and his career, however long he goes. It would be a catapult to bring everything to fruition, from the first day he started up to this point."

Acknowledging the strength of his opponent, Khan has pinpointed his speed and movement as potential key factors in the first fight to be held at the new T-Mobile Arena.

However, Alvarez, whose only defeat to date came against Mayweather in 2013, is sure he can deal with his rival's attributes.

"I know what Amir Khan brings," said the 25-year-old. "He's a very fast, very elusive, very tricky fighter. But I'm confident, with the work that's been done, to be able to go in there and break this down."

Alvarez's trainer, Eddy Reynoso, highlighted a desire among Mexicans to gain revenge following Khan's victory over the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera in 2009.

"Definitely, it did hurt, because Marco is one of the top names in Mexican boxing and at the moment he was still at one of the top levels," said Reynoso.

"That's when we realised who Amir Khan was, after that victory. I think after Saturday night, it would give that ingredient to the fans, that satisfaction back [should Alvarez win]."

The undefeated Gennady Golovkin looms as a potential future opponent for Alvarez and will be ringside, while Khan could drop back down in weight to face countryman Kell Brook or Danny Garcia, one of the two fighters he has previously been knocked out by.