March 2, 2016
March 2, 2016
Amir Khan

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CANELO ALVAREZ is a widely (if not universally) expected to beat Amir Khan when they clash on May 7 in Las Vegas. But Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, made sure a rematch clause was in their contract.

“We do have a rematch clause. So if Amir Khan beats Canelo we obviously will do the rematch,” De La Hoya, the head of Golden Boy Promotions, said. “We put in the contract a rematch for a reason because this is a dangerous fight and obviously we wanted to make sure if Amir Khan beats Canelo we can automatically exercise our option and fight him right away. This is no walk in the park. I believe style make fights and this is a perfect example.

“When I presented this fight to Amir Khan, I did not once think that he would decline it. Because of who Amir Khan is. He’s a fighter. He’s willing to take on everybody. He deserves the big fights. There’s a reason why Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao didn’t want to fight him. There’s a reason and Amir Khan has been in such great fights, whether he’s come out on top or come out on the losing end, he’s been in great fights and really that’s what it’s all about. Willingness to take the chance and Amir Khan is willing to take the chance.”

De La Hoya was well pleased to see Khan, whom Golden Boy used to promote, work with them again for this fight, an event which will be the biggest of 2016 so far. “Let’s just say I’m really looking forward to working with Amir Khan once again,” Oscar said. “We drove his career to new heights, we got him the big fights and now we’re getting him the mega-fight, which he deserves.

“Never underestimate the Golden Boy, that’s for sure. We know what we’re capable of doing, we know the job that we can do. We’re a well-oiled machine. I have great, capable people with me at the helm who are going to keep showing and proving to the world that we are here to stay for a very, very long time.”

It was a shock when Khan took this fight, especially as a showdown with his British rival, Kell Brook at Wembley stadium was on the cards, but De La Hoya insists, “I wasn’t surprised at all. Amir Khan has a plan, has a vision. Will that fight ever happen? I believe so. Amir Khan has a vision, he wants to be a global superstar. He wants to be recognised as one of the best fighters in the world and he understands that in order to do that you have take on The Guy. And Canelo right now is The Guy. Imagine if Amir beat Canelo, that make him instantly the man. Will the Kell Brook fight be there in the future? Absolutely. No doubt about it.”

Of course De La Hoya plans for Alvarez to become the leading man in the sport. “Canelo, for instance, is doing bigger ratings than the Mexican national soccer team, to give an example, and Mexicans love their soccer. So when Canelo fights the world stops in Mexico. We want that for him on a global scale and this was the perfect opportunity to give both guys the opportunity to become superstars,” Oscar said. “To me I just feel [Alvarez] is beginning. He’s starting his career as a superstar. He made his mark beating [Miguel] Cotto and now it’s up to him to keep raising his value. This is obviously a fight that’s going to help him in terms of visibility, in terms of selling pay per views. Most importantly this is a fight that’s the best against the best and who is willing to take that chance and that’s why they’re so admired because they’re both willing to take that chance to become the best.”

If Alvarez gets past Khan, as expected, Gennady Golovkin looms on the horizon for him. The feared Kazakh could be next for Canelo. “We’ll see. Absolutely. Is he going to fight him? Yes. No doubt about it. I believe he’ll fight him. I believe that fight will take place, I believe there’s no other roads that both fighters can take. It has to lead to that fight and eventually it’ll happen,” the promoter said. “I’m very confident. I like Golovkin. He has a great style, he’s a fighter and he’s created this type of mystique around fight fans that I love. It’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of when it’s going to happen and believe me it’ll happen very soon.”

De La Hoya’s confidence stems from his belief that Alvarez has improved rapidly since fighting Floyd Mayweather. “I think his footwork. He likes to be a perfect fighter and when I say perfect, he likes to throw every combination perfect,” Oscar said. “He has a fighting spirit. He loves to go out there and brawl and fight. [But] what I’ve been most impressed about was his footwork. He’s lighter on his feet, he’s moving side to side, he has tremendous ring generalship and defence so he might as well use it. Little by little we’re seeing a complete Canelo Alvarez.”

Click here to read John Dennen’s profile of Canelo Alvarez