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Golovkin showdown looms large for Canelo after brutal Khan KO

| 10.05.2016

Lee Gormley | May 9, 2016

Canelo calls out Golovkin after Khan KO

After viciously stopping Britain’s Amir Khan in Las Vegas, all signs now point to a middleweight unification showdown for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, against the fighter hailed by many as the division’s leading man, Gennady Golovkin.

Amir Khan v Saul Alvarez - T Mobile Arena

Mexican superstar Canelo (47-1-1, 33 KOs) ended Khan’s valiant efforts at a catchweight clash of 155 pounds with a brutal sixth-round knockout, with his devastating right hand sending the Bolton-born challenger crashing to the canvas for his 33rd career stoppage.

The 25-year-old had been growing frustrated by Khan’s swiftness around the ring in the opening rounds, with the latter fighter’s jab keeping his opponent at bay as tricky movement made it difficult for Canelo to cut off the space.

Although, it only took a distracting feinted jab and one crushing straight right to end proceedings in front of 17k T-Mobile Arena fans, with Khan being knocked out cold, and the WBC champion then calling out long-standing rival Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) for what would be a blockbuster middleweight match-up.

‘GGG’ showdown on horizon for Canelo

If, or when, such a high-profile bout is finally agreed between the two middleweight champions, Coral’s early prices hold Canelo as the slight favourite at odds-on 1/2, while ‘GGG’ is seen as the 6/4 outsider, which may come as somewhat of a surprise.

Amir Khan v Saul Alvarez - T Mobile Arena

After recording his fifth straight successful outing since being outpointed by Floyd Mayweather Jr back in 2013, and once Khan had thankfully recovered on his feet, the fiery headed Mexican was quick to call out his long-touted foe and IBF and WBA Super champion.

“I invited him [GGG] to come to the ring,” Alvarez declared following his latest KO victory. “I invited him because in Mexico we don’t f*** around, we don’t fight for rings and things like that.

“In Mexico we don’t f*** around…”

“I don’t fear anyone. He can come to Vegas, I don’t fear anyone in this sport. Like I said at my last fight, right now I will put my gloves on again and fight him.”

Golovkin Lemieux Boxing

Even Khan and trainer Virgil Hunter were keen to see Canelo and Golovkin finally square-off in the ring, with the beaten two-time world champion calling for the esteemed fighters to show similar valour to himself, having stepped up two weight classes for his latest outing.

“I am one of those fighters who will step into the ring with anyone,” stated Khan. “I think it’s now the time for Canelo to step in there with ‘Triple G’ because everyone has been waiting for that fight.”

The Mancunian’s trainer was full of praise for his man showing the courage to step up and take such a massive risk, and also backed a Canelo-Golovkin dust-up, stating: “Amir took the risk, he gave up everything, no concessions, now it’s time for him [Alvarez] to stop hiding behind little stuff, OK? Amir set the tone – fighters should fight each other.”

What next for Khan?

The Manchester fighter is now expected to drop back down to welterweight after his Vegas loss, and he will still have plenty of options on his eventual return. Compatriot Kell Brook, the IBF title holder, has long been seeking an all-British battle, one which Khan would enter at 10/11 to triumph in.

Amir Khan v Saul Alvarez - T Mobile Arena

Although, such a meeting may have to wait even longer, with the WBC confirming Khan is still in the mandatory position for a shot at Danny Garcia’s 147lbs crown.

The former Olympic Silver medallist is 7/4 to overcome Garcia (4/9) in a potential rematch, which is possible once Khan is medically cleared, as WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stated: “Amir Khan is the mandatory contender in the welterweight division. The WBC accepted his opportunity to fight Canelo. If he was to lose, he’s still the mandatory challenger – it’s in writing.”

Khan will have undoubtedly won over plenty of admirers with his latest exploits, and further high-profile bouts will still come easy for the Briton, but it’s the middleweight meeting between Mexico and Kazakstan’s finest that fans are craving most.

Will ‘GGG’ get career-defining fight?

Weight has been the key issue halting negotiations of this potential blockbuster, with Canelo previously calling for the match-up to be held at a lower catchweight, while ‘GGG’ adamantly maintained he would not be dropping down.

Golovkin Monroe Boxing

The WBC confirmed that the winner of Canelo versus Khan would have 15 days to agree to a clash against undefeated bulldozer Golovkin, and if not, then the title would be then be subsequently stripped.

Golden Boy Promotion’s leading light Alvarez was bullish after his most-recent success and is seemingly happy to step into the ring with the Kazakh KO artist, though the possible return of previous conqueror Mayweather may be an interesting sub-plot to this ongoing tale.

Though, a clash with ‘Triple G’ is the contest every fight fan wants to see, and especially Golovkin himself, as he seeks to finally grasp the legacy-defining bout he desires, and probably deserves.

“I’ll fight at 160 pounds.”

“For me, there are no issues. I’ll fight at 160 pounds, no problem,” declared a victorious Canelo in the heat of the moment on Vegas soil but, while the South American says he “doesn’t f*** around”, promotional parties and negotiators who make these mega-fights unfortunately do, quite a lot.

Golovkin has been searching tirelessly for opponents to collide with, from middleweight and below, but Canelo is the one man that can help shape an epic unification meeting.

Alvarez Khan Boxing

The Mexican quite clearly has a burning desire to be a true great and follow in the footsteps of legendary compatriots like Julio Cesar Chavez, but a decision, made by himself or his promoters, to avoid ‘GGG’ would be a damaging blow to both his pride and reputation, despite having so far never been afraid to fight the best. Meetings with Mayweather and Erislandy Lara, who is 5/1 to lose out to Vanes Martirosyan this month, prove so.

“My reaction is, nothing. Congratulations to him. He has [a] big win,” Golovkin said after Canelo’s recent win in Sin City. “I understand, everybody understands, he needs a true middleweight fighter. Amir is a good fighter, but he’s not a middleweight fighter. I saw speed, not power. Not a middleweight fighter.”

There are plenty of big match-ups to come in 2016, including Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury’s (evens to win again) awaited rematch, but in the current climate when negotiations seem to take an eternity to bear fruit, fans will hope to see a Canelo-‘GGG’ showdown sooner rather than even later.


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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.