By Keith Idec
Among the factors that make Billy Joe Saunders confident he can beat Canelo Alvarez is the way Amir Khan boxed against Alvarez before Khan got knocked out.
England’s Khan boxed well in a competitive bout before Alvarez knocked him unconscious with a right hand in the sixth round. Khan was ahead on one scorecard (48-47) and down on two (49-46, 48-47) through five rounds, before Alvarez landed the pulverizing punch that ended their May 2016 fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Unlike Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), who moved up from welterweight to fight for Alvarez’s WBC middleweight championship at a catch weight of 155 pounds, Saunders is a true middleweight who stands 5-feet-11, two inches taller than Alvarez.
The skillful southpaw from Manchester, England, also believes he is a better technician than Khan. Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), the WBO middleweight champion, knows Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) is more likely to embrace a rematch against Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) for his May 5 return, but he hopes he gets a chance to prove himself against the Mexican superstar.
“I personally think that Amir Khan was beating Canelo on points until … until he got knocked out,” Saunders said during the most recent episode of CompuBox’s “Inside Boxing Live” podcast.
“I believe Amir Khan was one round, maybe two up before the knockout. Now I consider myself a lot better fighter than Amir Khan. I consider myself a lot more crafty, a lot more technical than Amir Khan.
“He’s a great fighter, Amir Khan, he’s a good fighter. But my opinion, again, I class myself as a better fighter. Probably he classes himself as a better fighter than me. But in my own mind, in my own head, I’m a better fighter than him, and I would’ve done a few things different than Amir Khan did. But I would love that fight with Canelo Alvarez, absolutely love it.”
Khan has not fought since Alvarez beat him. Saunders enhanced his stock within the boxing industry by dominating David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) on his way to a convincing, 12-round unanimous decision victory December 16 in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.