Is Khan bulking up the necessary move against Canelo?

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Amir khan Marocs MaidanaWe are now officially less than a month away from Amir Khan’s long awaited chance at glory when he challenges Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the lineal middleweight championship May 7th from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When the fight was first announced, many were surprised and initially dismissed any real chance Khan had of dethroning the middleweight champion. The consensus opinion was that the smaller Khan would not last long enough in the ring with the naturally bigger Canelo to show off his tremendous speed and that sooner or later Canelo would land a shot that would end the night’s festivities with a bang.
As the fight has drawn closer and the initial shock has worn off, more and more people (both fans and pundits) have begun to question just how radical the size difference is with the two looking notably comparable in stature during the pre-fight press tour.
When pictures of Amir Khan surfaced onto the internet last week with Khan sporting a new beefed up physique, it became apparent that Canelo might not possess the size advantage initially thought.
Now that the two fighters appear to be at least close to the same level size wise, the big questions for Khan, his team, and his supporters now become: Can Khan compete with Canelo from a boxing skill standpoint and did adding the extra bulk to his body deteriorate any of the skills he will need to utilize come fight night?
The reason many in the boxing media disliked this fight from the beginning had nothing to do with Amir’s boxing ability. In fact, most believed that if Khan and Canelo were similar in weight, Khan could stand a chance to upset the young PPV star.
It’s easy to understand why one would have that point of view if you look at the opponents that have given Canelo the most trouble in his career. Khan possesses similar traits and fighting style to Erislandy Lara, who battled Alvarez to a close split decision loss, and Floyd Mayweather, who gave Canelo his only professional defeat in September of 2013. Of course, Khan is no Mayweather, but he does have similar measurables including reach which could become an important factor in Khan controlling the distance with the jab, keeping Canelo away from the danger zone. Khan also owns some of the fastest hands in the sport, even quicker overall than Mayweather, so it’s not a stretch at all to suggest that pound for pound Khan has the skills necessary to handle Canelo.
The issue of Khan’s added mass has become a point of contention amongst many experts in the fight game. It’s almost universally accepted that Khan will need his usual blazing hand speed to find success, but experts are concerned if he can maintain his speed while adding muscle and emphasizing strength during camp. Khan insists that his newly added mass will not slow him down come fight night.
Khan recently spoke with FightHype to explain why his new focus on strength training will benefit him compared to his past training regimen. “One thing about these machines is it tells you the power you put in, so you can’t really cheat…this is where science and technology has improved…it shows you how hard your body is being pushed and how hard you’re pushing yourself…it’s good for me mentally…when I go into the 12th round in the fight, my body might be tired, but I know the power is still there.”
Khan also expressed that he feels that moving up from welterweight will keep himself fresh rather than losing energy from cutting weight.
“I’m not killing myself to make weight,” said Khan. “If I’m cutting down to my 147 division or 140 pounds I used to be, I used to do a half session like this but not eat enough after training, but now I can eat and put all that energy into my body.”
It’s clear that team Khan is confident that his added emphasis on strength conditioning will do nothing to take away from his natural boxing ability, but does his opponent on May 7th still hold the same amount of confidence he has had after seeing this newer, stronger Khan?
Canelo Alvarez was asked by FightHype what he thought of the photos showing Khan’s increased size and the Mexican superstar replied: “It means he’s taking his training very serious, and that’s good to give the public a great fight.”
Alvarez showed no sign of worry when talking about the former junior welterweight champion.
“I’ve fought with even bigger fighters, so I don’t think I’m going to worry about that. What I will worry about is to train 100% because I know what Amir Khan is bringing.
“I have to prepare myself for the best Amir Khan and not underestimate anybody because in the sport the one you think won’t do anything to you is the one that ends up doing the most to you,”
Canelo’s aware of his struggles against boxers with speed but maintains the belief that he can conquer his opponents most dangerous weapon.
“He’s a fast fighter that moves so those are the fighters that are difficult, but I’ve fought against all styles, and I’m ready for a style like Amir Khan’s.”
The jury is still out on just how close both Khan and Alvarez’s in ring abilities are but in only four weeks the world will play witness to see if Amir Khan’s gamble to bulk up and challenge for the middleweight title will pay off?