Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan are set to face off on May 7, but much of the discussion regarding the two high-profile boxers pertains to what comes next. In addition to the WBC middleweight title, a fight with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin” could be on the line, as well, when Alvarez and Khan meet at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For many, the fight on Cinco de Mayo Weekend is just a formality before Alvarez takes on Golovkin in September. The champ is a heavy favorite over Khan, who is making the leap from welterweight to fight at the 155-pound limit for the first time.
"I focus on the task at hand, what's in front of me,” Alvarez told reporters in New York on Tuesday through his interpreter Eric Gomez. “Right now, my focus is Amir Khan.
"One of my qualities is that I am very disciplined. I have the experience. I am fast, but I am also very powerful, as well. With Amir Khan, [he has] lightning speed. He's got very fast speed, and boxing ability, so it makes for a great fight."
Alvarez is smart to not overlook Khan, a winner of five consecutive fights. Their bout will be one of the biggest in 2016, and promoter Oscar De La Hoya described them as "the two biggest names in boxing." That’s probably a stretch for Khan considering he has never headlined a pay-per-view. But De La Hoya predicts the fight will outsell the 900,000 PPV buys Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto generated in November.
The WBC has ordered the winner of Alvarez-Khan to face Golovkin in their next fight, assuming the knockout artist retains his belt against Dominic Wade on April 23. Golovkin holds middleweight titles, as well, but weight might be a stumbling block for making the proposed title unification fight a reality.
Golovkin has maintained he won’t fight below the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, while neither Alvarez nor Khan has fought above 155 pounds. In the event of an upset for Khan, the Brit wouldn't have the clout to dictate the weight limit for a bout with Golovkin. But Alvarez is the biggest PPV draw in the sport with Floyd Mayweather retired and Manny Pacquiao on his way out. Golovkin sold just 150,000 buys in his PPV debut.
Alvarez has made it clear that he is not a middleweight, and wants to defend his title at 155 pounds.
"I've given many concessions," Alvarez said. "I've given up many advantages. I've done it throughout my career to get to this point where I am at. One thing I'm not going to do is I'm not going to give up any concessions or any advantages to 'GGG.' I'm in the position where I deserve and I've earn my spot.
"Is the fight going to get made? It's going to get made. But the conditions have to be right. I have to feel comfortable and assured. He has to feel comfortable, as well.”
It’s possible that the fighters could come to a compromise and meet above 155. It would undoubtedly be the biggest fight of the year, and it’s one boxing fans are clamoring to see.
Alvarez is expected to beat Khan and improve his career record to a stellar 47-1-1, but he would be the underdog against Golovkin. The middleweight champ is 34-0 with 31 knockouts, dominating every opponent that's challenged him.
Even after winning four straight fights following his loss to Mayweather, Alvarez confirmed he needs a convincing win over Khan to prove he's just as good as Golovkin. He believes doing so could give him some momentum going into a fight against the Kazakh knockout artist.
"But the most important thing is winning the fight [against Khan]," he added. "You always want to look good, but the most important thing, the bottom line, is winning the fight."
Bobby Ilich contributed to this report