What next for Al­varez?

Al­varez turns his at­ten­tion to un­de­feated Kazakh af­ter KO win

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

S aul Al­varez got on his knees to check on Amir Khan af­ter knock­ing him un­con­scious with a big right hand in the sixth round of their ti­tle fight.

Then he went over to check on some fu­ture busi­ness with fel­low mid­dleweight cham­pion Gen­nady Golovkin, who was watch­ing ring­side.

“I in­vited him to come into the ring,” said Al­varez. “Right now I am ready to put the gloves on again.”

It’s a fight both Golovkin and boxing fans have been wait­ing for, though the weight could be an is­sue.

Al­varez wants the bout to be less than the 160-pound mid­dleweight limit, while Golovkin, who holds his own piece of the mid­dleweight crown, vows to fight at his best weight.

“I am old school,” Golovkin said just be­fore the fight. “Mid­dleweight is 160. I re­spect the sport of boxing.”

Against Khan, Al­varez needed only one big right hand to turn a close fight into a smash­ing knock­out that left the Bri­tish chal­lenger out cold on his back in the mid­dle of the ring.

Strug­gling with Khan’s speed, Canelo un­leashed a long right hand that sent Khan back­ward on the can­vas, where ref­eree Kenny Bay­less didn’t even bother to count him out at 2:37 of the sixth round.

Al­varez re­tained his WBC crown, but it was not without some ner­vous mo­ments for his fans who packed the new T-Mo­bile Arena on the Las Ve­gas Strip.

Khan was more than hold­ing his own in a tac­ti­cal fight when the right hand sud­denly ended it.

“Peo­ple have known me only for my power,” said Al­varez. “I have many more qual­i­ties in the ring and I showed that. I think peo­ple saw more of me.”

Khan, who moved up two weight di­vi­sions to face Al­varez, had vowed to use his speed to con­found the Mex­i­can and his plan seemed to be work­ing.

He fought in spurts, land­ing com­bi­na­tions and seem­ingly frus­trat­ing Al­varez with his move­ment.

But a right hand that came out of nowhere landed flush against Khan’s chin, and he was out be­fore he hit the can­vas.

“I was get­ting in the ring with a big guy,” said Khan. “Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t make it to the end of the fight.”

Khan was taken to the hospi­tal af­ter the fight, but pro­moter Os­car De La Hoya said he ap­peared to be fine and that the move was pre­cau­tion­ary. Khan’s head snapped back when he hit the can­vas and he ap­peared out for sev­eral min­utes be­fore be­ing re­vived.

But less than an hour af­ter that sav­age knock­out Khan tweeted: “I’m okay ev­ery­one, that’s boxing for you, con­grats to Canelo, mon­ster punch, much love to all the fans!”

While Khan will now have to as­sess his fu­ture, which will most likely see him cam­paign­ing back at wel­ter­weight, Al­varez’s camp must be­gin talks with Golovkin or risk be­ing stripped of the WBC ti­tle.

Many fight fans have sug­gested Canelo would look to avoid the vi­cious Kazakh, but speak­ing af­ter the fight Al­varez de­clared his in­ten­tion to chal­lenge the un­de­feated knock­out ma­chine.

He said: “We don’t come to play in this sport. I fear no one. I’ll fight him right now. Let’s put the gloves on and get in there with him.”

Khan, for one, be­lieves it’s a fight that has to hap­pen, and soon.

“I think it’s time that Canelo steps in the ring with Triple G,” said Khan.

His trainer, Vir­gil Hin­ter, agreed. He added: “He’s got to quit hid­ing be­hind the flag and fight Triple G. Amir set the tone. He’s got to stop hid­ing be­hind the flag and fight the fight that we all want to see.”

The like­li­hood is that the fight will hap­pen in Septem­ber, around Mex­i­can In­de­pen­dence Day on the 16th, which would guar­an­tee an­other pro-Al­varez crowd.

That date had be­come syn­ony­mous with Floyd May­weather, but with the Amer­i­can sup­pos­edly re­tired, Al­varez is the new face of boxing.

And the vast ma­jor­ity of the 16,540 that filled the new arena on the Las Ve­gas strip were there to cheer on their hero.

At times he strug­gled with Khan’s speed and move­ment and it was not un­til the fifth round that Al­varez be­gan to find his range.

One round later it was all over and in the most dra­matic fash­ion.

With Khan mov­ing for­ward, Canelo timed his punch to per­fec­tion. It was clear the fight was over the mo­ment the shot det­o­nated on the Bri­ton’s chin.

Now Al­varez will have the chance to ce­ment his own legacy by fac­ing the dan­ger­ous Golovkin. It’s his time to dare to be great.

“I fear no one in this sport. I’ll fight him right now.”

– SAUL AL­VAREZ WHEN ASKED IF HE WOULD FACE GEN­NADY GOLOVKIN

THAT’S IT: Ref­eree Kenny Bay­less ends the fight af­ter Amir Khan was knocked out by Canelo Al­varez in Las Ve­gas

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