Writer Predictions: Khan's Only Pathway to Victory Is Perfection

Photo: Will Hart

Photo: Will Hart

Eric Raskin

Canelo KO 6

While I can see certain paths to victory for Khan, they're going to require him fighting a nearly perfect fight, and odds are that he does something imperfect at some point and pays for it. I expect Khan to use his hand and foot speed to build a small early lead, but by the middle rounds, Canelo's power will catch up with him, bringing to an end a fun, edge-of-your-seat scrap.

Hamilton Nolan

It's completely possible that Khan gets knocked out early and people conclude this was a mismatch. It's not a mismatch though—Khan has the hand speed, foot speed, and boxing skills to move around Canelo, land punches, and take a decision. That would involve twelve full rounds of not trading punches with him, though, which is a tall order for Khan. No doubt Canelo will smash him if he can put him on the ropes, or if Khan falls back into old habits and tries to stand and trade. But if Khan fights how he's capable of fighting he could win. The smart bet is a Canelo KO but I am reserving a reasonable chance that Khan could win this, if he fights probably the most complete fight of his life. 

Gordon Marino
Canelo KO 6

Prediction – Canelo wins by a knockout in the 6th round. Khan has supersonic hand speed but his footwork is less speedy and quite predictable. I don't think Canelo will have a difficult time cutting off the ring. I suspect that Khan will try to grab him but that tactic will not work with the stronger and compact-punching Canelo. Inside, Khan does not bend his knees so his blows are fast but ineffective. He won't be able to keep Canelo off of him or back him up. Two of the knockouts that Khan has suffered came at the end of a left hook. I suspect that the same punch will punch a hole in Khan's dreams on Saturday night.

Frank Della Femina
Canelo KO 5

Canelo’s power. Khan’s speed. That’s all people seem to be talking about leading up to this fight, which makes sense. It’s all we know. What they don’t know is how Khan will look in the ring after going up two weight classes. All photos and fight week coverage would suggest Khan has bulked up significantly, but does this jeopardize his speed as a result? I’m going to say no, especially since many believe Canelo will check in somewhere in the mid to upper-170s come fight night. However, Khan’s ever-questionable chin will follow him through any weight class. If Canelo lands clean, which I believe he's bound to do at some point, then it could be lights out for Khan faster than you can say, “Santos Saúl Canelo Álvarez Barragán.” Which I translate directly to five rounds.

Kieran Mulvaney
Canelo KO 9

I really do think Amir Khan is going to have a surprising amount of success in the early going. As long as he doesn't load up on his combinations, he can box and move and give Alvarez fits at times. But Canelo is a better defensive fighter than he is sometimes given credit for, and he's methodically efficient on offense. He'll work Khan's body, slow him down and then switch his assault upstairs. Once that happens, Canelo's superior strength will come into play, and it'll only take one perfectly placed punch to end the night for the man from Bolton.

Diego Morilla
Canelo W12

Forget about the built-in storylines of speed vs. power, skill vs. heart, chin vs. no chin, Oscar vs. Pacman redux and beyond, and forget also about the laughable assertion that we'll be witnessing a laughable mismatch. Let's look at the "known knowns," for a minute: Khan will look good early and Canelo will look sluggish and flatfooted for most of the bout. But as usual, the Mexican champ will grow in aggression and connect rate as the fight goes on, and that will definitely spell disaster for Khan. A late stoppage or unanimous decision for the Cinnamon Kid is the most likely outcome in my card.

Carlos Acevedo
Canelo KO

Nothing short of perfection will allow Khan to buck the odds tomorrow night. Without a legitimate kayo in more than half a decade (Khan stopped Carlos Molina on cuts), “King” is going to have to find some other way to short-circuit Alvarez. Most likely, that means adopting a footloose style from the opening bell, overworking his jab, and clinching whenever Alvarez gets close. In outlasting Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, Alvarez showed that he is susceptible to slick counterpunchers. But Trout and Lara are both southpaw cuties whose defensive tactics include spoiling. Khan, on the other hand, is a stand-up boxer who looks to circle on the perimeter and score with one-twos from long range. From time to time he likes to step in and unload salvos that leave him vulnerable to return fire. And pressure fighters—or variants thereof—have always given Khan fits. Against Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, Joel Diaz, and a surprisingly spry Algieri, Khan found himself at one point or another teetering, tottering, or toppling. Look for Alvarez to set a brisk pace, work his left hook double-time, and stop Khan late.

Michael Gluckstadt
Canelo W12

Amir Khan may not get knocked out Saturday night, but he will be tasting the canvas – probably multiple times. Whatever points he'll pick up on the judges' scorecards for engaging Canelo and landing pretty-looking six or eight-punch combos, he's likely to lose them in bunches every time Canelo puts him down.