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Jim Lampley assesses importance of Canelo-Khan

Fighters Network
Some fans (mainly the neurotic ones) are upset that Canelo Alvarez's RING and WBC middleweight titles are on the line in his 155-pound catchweight showdown against Amir Khan. Photo / Rich Kane - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo credit: Rich Kane/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions


This mega-fight taking place on Saturday is an oddity, from its conception – came out of nowhere, took all but about 10 people by surprise – to today because the range of possible outcomes seems so wide and the underdog really seems to be in danger of getting dropped and stopped before the midway point.


You wouldn’t be overly surprised if Amir Khan’s chin gets dented and RING middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez finishes the Pakistani-Brit hitter off within the first four rounds of the bout, which unfolds at the T-Mobile Arena and on HBO Pay-Per View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Because there’s a reason guys who fought at 140 pounds two years ago don’t jump up to fight a middleweight who will be a light heavyweight on Saturday.


Khan maybe wins his career-defining challenge, using hand speed and mobility to outbox the slower-footed foe, who can seem plodding against clever movers.

I checked in with Hall of Fame blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley, to get a sense on how he views #Khanelo. The HBO lead dog sees the event as BIG but, of course, it’ll be one of the handful of fights we will look back on when we are pondering yesteryear – and 2016, specifically – down the road a bit.

“This fight came out of the blue,” said Lampley. “Knowledgeable fans were saying, ‘What?'”

He is of the mind that, of course, there is a rich history of smaller men, with a speed and mobility-perceived edge, whom have proven and re-proven the “David and Goliath” construct.

The players are not set-in-stone attractions that, say, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao were when they tangoed, he continued. Canelo is ascending, building the brand, trying to widen it, learning English…Khan is regarded as a mixed bag. He’s had ups and downs and dearly wants to prove his walk matches his talk, that, in the end, his legacy will match his perception of what it should be, essentially. “Basically, this fight is bigger to ringside intelligentsia than the general public,” Lampley ventured.

Agreed; that may be the case partially because neither man offers the tomfoolery or soundbites, attracting the TMZ hits which get on the radar of the casuals.

“I do think this fight is more important than Pacquiao-(Tim) Bradley (III),” said Lampley, who will work the show with Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. “Canelo is more important to the future of the sport than Pacquiao is.”

If Canelo wins and signs on to try and be the underdog David against Goliath Gennady Golovkin, THAT would be the big picture bout of the year, the HBO fixture said.

A case could be made, and would more likely to be done so in Europe, that the forthcoming Tyson Fury vs. Wladimir Klitschko rematch could end the year as “Fight of the Year” in terms of import, he continued. “I don’t feel that because, even if Fury retains, interest, I think, in Wladimir has diminished. He’s perceived as old news.” Devotees of the division are into the new blood, the Anthony Joshuas and Deontay Wilders, he said.

Readers, what say you? Share your take on the relative importance of Canelo vs. Khan in the grander scheme of things. Me, I think it’s a case of our being most able to speak to this after we see the verdict offered. If Canelo blitzes Khan, fans say they knew it would be so. A Khan win would move the bout into higher ground because, really, all agree he’s bitten off a big chunk to chew and swallow. A Khan win indeed lifts his legacy to where he thinks it should be. Your take?


Michael Woods offers plenty of tomfoolery and soundbites – and that’s just in a Starbucks drive-thru. Dude’s gonna be a holy terror once he gets his own podcast.


July 2016

You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of THE RING Magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Canelo Alvarez readies himself for an intriguing clash with Britain’s Amir Khan on May 7.