GGG in Future if Canelo tops Khan

May 03, 2016 3:03 AM
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With Floyd Mayweather’s retirement, Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is boxing’s biggest star.

The biggest thing that separates Canelo from the brash undefeated Money Mayweather is he likes to come forward to engage his opponent. The 25 year old’s fan friendly style combined with his Mexican heritage has made him a box office draw even with a decision loss to Mayweather on his record. At the time Canelo was only 23 years old.

Since the loss Canelo (46-1-1, 32 KOs) has defeated Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, produced a scintillating knockout of James Kirkland in a sold out Minute Maid Park (the Houston Astros home), and capped off with a decision win over future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto last November to become the undisputed Middleweight Champion.

While boxing diehard fans clamor for a Canelo vs. Gennedy Golovkin (Triple G) fight, first up for the new champ is England’s Amir Khan this Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) won a Silver Medal for England in the 2004 Olympic Games and once held the WBA/IBF junior welterweight titles defeating Marcos Maidana, Paul Malignaggi and Zab Judah along the way. He followed the Judah victory by losing his titles via controversial decision to Lamont Peterson. The following fight was a shocking fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia. Since that defeat, Khan has won five straight.

So the question is why him over GGG? Simply put it’s a better financial decision right now. Canelo vs. GGG is the best fan friendly fight that can be made but it will get bigger over time. Hopefully they won’t make us wait like we had to wait for Mayweather-Pacquiao, but rest assured it will be a much better fight when it happens.

Khan is a big star in England and he will bring plenty of his countrymen to Las Vegas. Mix that with the Cinco de Mayo-celebrating Canelo fans it will be rocking in Vegas’ new crown jewel arena.

Fight Breakdown: Canelo comes in as a -500 betting favorite (Westgate or Wynn) while Khan is getting +425 (William Hill). The total is 9.5 Rounds OVER/UNDER both -110. Canelo is as talented a puncher as he is a boxer. Khan does have tremendous speed but I don’t think it’s the kind of upper echelon speed/power mix needed to give Canelo fits. That doesn’t mean the Brit won’t be competitive.

Khan’s game plan should be simple, allow Canelo to move toward him, avoid being trapped in the corner and fire combinations off Canelo’s 1-2’s. Each time Khan can make Canelo miss he had better land two to three shots to influence the judges. Khan has a little pop in his hands but would really need to catch Canelo with something magical to put the champion down.

This is where the betting line makes sense. Canelo has knocked out 32 fighters out of his 46 wins. Khan has KO losses to 140-pounders Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia. That’s problematic when facing a 155 pound fighter. I don’t see this fight going the distance but wouldn’t be surprised to see Canelo get to him around the sweet spot of the Round Prop Total.

If you want the safe bet lay the -550 with Canelo; for the best value go for UNDER 9.5 rounds, which you might be able to find plus money around town. If you want the best bang for the buck take Canelo to win in Rounds 9-11, ranging from 10-1 to 30-1 at William Hill.

Fight Notes: Resale tickets for Canelo-Khan are currently going for $243 in Section 213, one of the higher sections; near $30,000 for Row 1. If $30,000 sounds steep or you are more of the “watch from the comfort of your own living room” type, the fight is available on Pay Per View for $70 in HD or $60 in SD. Grand arrivals for both fighters are at MGM Grand lobby, Tuesday at noon.

Official weigh-ins are Friday at 1 p.m. at Toshiba Plaza (T-Mobile Arena). Locally MGM will be hosting $60 closed circuit viewing parties at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Mirage and Monte Carlo.

Prediction: Canelo KO 10.

Alan Berg has 10-plus years of experience at Las Vegas sports books and prior to moving to Las Vegas covered sports for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  Twitter: @vegasberserker Email: ABerg@GamingToday.com.