|Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions|
Canelo Álvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) successfully defended his WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Championship titles Saturday night with a vicious sixth round knockout of former two-time world champion Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The combination of Canelo's power, superior size, and boxing ability, coupled with Khan's suspect chin, proved to be too problematic for the British challenger.
"He is a fast fighter, and I knew things would be complicated in beginning, but I knew they would come to my favor as the fight went on," said Canelo Álvarez. "People have known me only for my power. I have many more qualities in the ring, and I showed that. I think people saw more of me tonight. Someone that comes in to box gives you more trouble and someone that comes right in is a little easier to fight."
Initially, Khan's speed proved to be tricky for Canelo, as he circled the champion and unleashed his trademark handspeed on Alvarez with a series of jabs and combinations in Rounds One and Two.
Alvarez patiently adjusted to Khan's speed, and eventually started connecting on his power shots. By the end of the fight, Canelo had landed 42 of his 83 power punches -- an impressive 50.6 percent connect rate.
Alvarez finally caught Khan with a clean right to the chin in Round 6. In a scary moment, Khan fell straight back, bouncing his head off the canvas and ending the fight by knockout.
"That was the most devastating knockout I have seen from Canelo," said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "I believe it was more devastating than the Kirkland knockout."
The Daily Sports Herald had Khan ahead on the scorecard's at the time of the knockout.
With this "tune-up" bout against the smaller Khan now out of the way, everyone's focus immediately turned to Canelo's potential middleweight clash with knockout artist Gennady Golovkin.
Oddly enough, the Golovkin-Canelo clash seemed to be on the mind of Khan and his camp after the fight as well.
"I want to thank everyone for coming," said Khan. "I think it's time for Canelo to step up to GGG, just like I stepped up to fight him. I tried as much as I could and trained very hard for this fight. Unfortunately, I didn't get the result I wanted. Although I feel strong at this weight, I am naturally a lighter fighter and plan to go back down to welterweight. But, I like to challenge myself and that is why I took this fight. I want to be the best, and to be the best I have to fight the best."
Khan's trainer also felt compelled to encourage Alvarez to fight Triple G, citing Khan's move to middleweight as an example of such a risk.
"We took the risk with no concessions," said Virgil Hunter, trainer to Khan. "Amir has set the tone. He took the risk and did it."
Lemieux defeats Tapia
For the evening's co-main event, hard-hitting former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux (35-3, 32 KOs) dominated against Glen Tapia (23-3, 15 KOs) with a technical knockout in the fourth round to claim the vacant NABO Middleweight Title when Tapia's newly-hired corner threw in the towel despite Tapia appearing to be in relatively good health at the time.
"I have a lot of respect for Tapia," said Lemieux. "I trained very hard for this fight. This is just the beginning."
In the fourth round, Lemieux knocked Tapia down hard to the canvas, but Tapia jumped up quickly, beating the count. Before the action resumed, Tapia's corner waved off the fight, leaving him pleading with them not to stop it.
"I was mad," said "Jersey Boy" Tapia. "I know I was losing every round. I felt slow and tired, and he was quick. I felt like I was trying to save energy. Congratulations to David (on the knockdown). I wasn't even hurt - it was more of a flash knockdown. I'm kind of mad at Freddie [Roach] a little bit."
Curtis Stevens defeats Teixeira
In another undercard bout, Brooklyn bomber Curtis "Cerebral Assassin" Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) gave Brazilian Patrick Teixeira (26-1, 22 KOs) his first career loss to win the vacant WBC De Las Americas Middleweight Title.
"The name of the game is to knock people out and that's what I did tonight," said Curtis Stevens. "I feel great to get back into the game after my one and a half year break. I really want Lemieux, but I will take whatever I can get. My head is right, and I'm ready to take on whoever."
Both fighters began the fight with high intensity, exchanging blows during the first round. In the second round, Stevens' sent Teixeira to the mat with one minute and four seconds left on the clock.
"Throughout the fight, I didn't know if I was winning or losing," said Patrick Teixeira. "This fight was not how I expected it to go."
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services