LONDON - Amir Khan has backed stablemate Alfredo Angulo to upset the odds when he clashes with fellow Mexican star Canelo Alvarez this weekend.
The pair will meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in front of what is expected to be a sold out arena, with Canelo being tipped as the favourite in the fight which will be broadcast live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Khan, who has trained with Angulo ever since the pair joined forces with esteemed trainer Virgil Hunter back in 2012, has rallied behind his light-middleweight companion and backed him to produce the goods this Saturday night.
“Alfredo has looked great in the gym and you can see an intensity in his eyes that he’s ready for this,” said Khan. “It’s not going to be an easy fight against Canelo because Canelo is a slick boxer and moves quite well but Angulo showed against Lara how good he is at cutting off the ring. Angulo might be seen as the underdog but under Virgil you’ve seen the progress he’s made and you can be sure he’ll force Canelo to work every minute of every round,” he told BoxNation.
“Alfredo has shown he can follow instructions and stick to the game plan and I’m sure Virgil has devised the right strategy for this fight. It’s not going to be easy but I know Alfredo is ready and can get the win,” Khan said.
The former unified light-welterweight star has seen firsthand the damage ‘El Perro’, or ‘The Dog’, can dish out having sparred with him on a number of occasions.
“There’s a close bond between everyone at Virgil’s gym and we all get fully behind whoever has a fight coming up. I’ve sparred with Alfredo to help get him ready for this one and we’ve done some great work over the last few weeks,” he said.
“Sharing the ring with him I know what he’s bringing to this fight and believe me it won’t be an easy night for Canelo. He’ll have to win Alfredo’s respect in there because this guy keeps coming forward and doesn’t take a back step,” said Khan.
Canelo is coming off a dominating points loss last September to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Nevertheless, Khan is refusing to underestimate Canelo and believes that the Mexican icon with the movie star looks will be motivated to get back to winning ways, which has seen him lose only once in his distinguished career.
“Neither of these guys will want to lose because of what is at stake with them both being proud Mexican’s. It’s going to be an excellent fight because they’re both at the top of their game. I know Canelo is coming off the loss to Mayweather but he’s still a great fighter who’s looking to bounce back and show he’s still one of the best out there,” said Khan.
Angulo also is looking to return from a loss in his last fight, which came in much more controversial circumstances against Erislandy Lara after he was unable to continue due to damage to his left eye, which Angulo’s team claimed was the result of being ‘thumbed’.
The 31-year-old had had twice floored the Cuban and was beginning to exert his will in the fight before it was stopped in the 10th round.
But this opportunity against Canelo represents one Khan believes Angulo has been waiting for since he started boxing.
“With Alfredo this is the chance he’s been waiting for his whole life. He wants to prove that he’s the best Mexican fighter out there and he has the style to make any fight he takes part in exciting to watch. I know what this means to him and I think that’s going to drive him on to prove to everyone how good he really is,” said Khan.
“I’m expecting Alfredo to be the aggressor in the fight and for Canelo to try and counter and use his boxing skills. Alfredo’s skills are underrated and you don’t really get an idea of the subtle things he does well until you get in the ring with him. He’s got serious power in either hand and has the ability to knock Canelo out,” added Khan.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546) this Sunday from 2am. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.