WHATEVER happens in the ring on Saturday night, no one can deny that Amir Khan is having the time of his life right now. At today’s weigh-in, which took place in the chilly and wet Las Vegas air, Khan was buzzing with confidence, and lapping up every moment of the biggest fight of his life.
Like the WBC middleweight champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Khan weighed in at the catch-weight limit of 155lbs and smiled smiled widely on the scales – his physique markedly chunkier and less chiselled than his rival – as he came in eight pounds heavier than he ever has. He quickly, and wisely, given the conditions, put his tracksuit back on and threw Team Khan merchandise into the crowd.
“It feels amazing,” said Khan, who turned professional in the lightweight division 11 years ago. “It’s a big challenge for me. I’ve had Andre Berto and Andre Ward helping me in the gym, pushing me on. I’m 100 per cent confident I can win this fight. Every fight is a tough fight, but being the underdog makes me want to prove myself at the very top level.”
He urged “Britain to make some noise” but it seemed only a smattering of the thousands in attendance were there for Khan. The vast majority of the fans were supporting Mexican Canelo, who was typically calm and collected – even in the face of the fanfare and adoration on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
“I know I’m facing a fast fighter and he has a lot of experience,” Alvarez said. “I have prepared myself well.”
It will be interesting to see the size difference in the ring because while Alvarez looked ready for a good meal after weighing-in, Khan will surely not get much bigger. Even so, throughout fight week, Khan has been a picture of calm confidence, and of a fighter at ease with the task head.
The highlight of the other weigh-ins was the appearance of super-bantamweight Rocco Santamauro who weighed in at 121lbs while shovelling ice cream into his mouth, one pound less than his opponent, Diego De La Hoya.
Elsewhere, David Lemieux came in at 160lbs for his chief-support clash with Glen Tapia (159 1/2lbs). Also in the middleweight division, Curtis Stevens – who has been a mean and moody figure this week – sported his new nickname, “The Cerebral Assassin” while hitting the scales at 160lbs – the same weight as his opponent, Patrick Teixeira, who was noticeably uncomfortable standing near naked in the cold. Irish starlet Jason Quigley cut an impressive 160lbs, two pounds lighter than James De La Rosa. Completing the
Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and Roberto Duran – looking like a tanned Del Trotter – were introduced to the crowd alongside Golden Boy boss Oscar De La Hoya and his partner, and former conqueror, Bernard Hopkins – who both planted and watered the WBC ‘Tree of Peace’ – as the carnival-style event stretched to almost two hours.