British boxing legend Lennox Lewis says Amir Khan can upset the odds and beat Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Saturday, if he sticks to his game-plan.
Khan, 29, has jumped two weight divisions to challenge his Mexican rival for the WBC middleweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
At Friday’s weigh-in, both men scaled 155lb, bang on the catch-weight limit.
“Khan can win if he doesn’t mix it up with Canelo and uses the sweet science instead,” Lewis told BBC Sport.
“Khan is a great boxer, moves well and throws great combinations. He will need controlled movement against Canelo, not running around for the sake of it.
“You’ve also got to remember that it’s not him going into the fight by himself, it’s him and his trainer [Virgil Hunter].
“So if Khan strays from the game-plan, Virgil is there saying: ‘Hey, what are you doing? You were winning each round sticking to the game-plan.’
“I am worried about what will happen when Khan gets hit, but he’s been down in other fights and I think mentally he’ll be able to overcome it.”
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Thousands of fans flocked to the weigh-in, which took place in front of the T-Mobile Arena, just off the Vegas Strip.
Many Mexicans are in town to celebrate the festival of Cinco de Mayo, meaning Khan’s smattering of followers were greatly outnumbered.
Alvarez-Khan will be the first boxing match to take place at the 20,000-capacity venue.
“It’s a big challenge for me, I’m up against a great fighter but I’m focused and 100% confident I can win this fight,” said Khan, who is bidding to become Britain’s 12th current world champion and only the third former light-welterweight world champion to win a middleweight world title.
“I also feel a bit left out, being one of the best fighters in Britain but not holding a world title. I want to prove that I belong at the top. This is my time.”
Also in attendance at the glitzy presentation were boxing legends Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez, Robert Duran and Bernard Hopkins, as well as the fight promoter Oscar de la Hoya.
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Although the match was made at five pounds under the 160lb middleweight limit, the 25-year-old Alvarez, a natural light-middlweight, is expected to weigh as much as 175lb on fight night, almost a stone more than Khan.
Khan has been knocked out twice in 34 professional fights, leading some experts to believe the fight will be over the first time Alvarez lands clean.
Alvarez has lost once in 48 pro fights, against Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and 32 of his 46 victories have come by way of knockout.
Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, has warned that the Mexican people want revenge for Khan’s victory over the great Marco Antonio Barrera in 2009.
On that occasion, a clash of heads in the first round opened a cut on Barrera’s forehead and caused the fight to be waved off in the fifth.
The result effectively ended the career of the former three-weight world champion, who beat British great Naseem Hamed in 2001 and is perhaps most famous for his trio of fights against fellow Mexican Erik Morales.
“[Khan’s victory over Barrera] hurt,” said Reynoso. “Canelo beating Amir Khan on Saturday would give satisfaction to the Mexican fans.”