With Floyd Mayweather retired, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is now the biggest draw in boxing.
In November, Alvarez drew 1 million pay-per-view buys for the first time in his career as the “A” side of the promotion while beating Puerto Rican boxing legend Miguel Cotto to become the WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion. Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) will make his first title defense of 2016 against former two-time world champion and resurgent contender Amir “King” Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) on Cinco de Mayo weekend. The fight will be the first boxing event to be held at the T-Mobile Arena, the hottest new sports and entertainment venue just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Canelo and Khan took a page from the Mayweather pre-fight promotion book, by recently completing a three city, international press tour which began in London, New York and ended in Los Angeles. With both fighters being international boxing superstars, promotors hope the buzz created by the press tour leads to even better PPV numbers than Canelo’s last outing.
“It is not often that two superstars of a sport face off at the peak of their careers,” Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions said. “This is such an event, with two of the biggest international fighters fighting at the biggest arena in the world.”
Alvarez is poised to have the biggest year of his outstanding boxing career.
If he is able to defeat Amir “King” Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) – on May 7, the Mexican boxing superstar will be in line for a mega-fight with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September.
Despite having a bigger prize ahead of him down the road. Canelo is focused on the task of adding another high profile victim to his growing resume of wins.
“Amir Khan is a strong fighter, and I know he will be prepared come May 7. It will be an exciting night for the fans,” Alvarez said during the New York pre-fight press conference. “When I come out, I bring 100 percent and this will be no exception.”
Many boxing experts feel despite never fighting above the 147-pound weight limit, Khan is a formidable opponent for the bigger, stronger Alvarez. But at the end of the day, Khan is still a sizable underdog who will need a career defining performance to shock the world.
During the press tour, Khan told anyone who would listen than he’s more than ready for the biggest challenge of his career.
“When I got the call from Oscar asking, ‘how do you feel about fighting Canelo?’ I said, ‘with my skills, speed and power, I really believe you guys will see something different in this fight,” Khan said.
“You have two styles – speed and power and strength and explosiveness. We both have youth, and we both want to fight the best. On May 7 we will be ready for this, and guess what? I am going to win the middleweight world championship.”