Golden Boy Promotions has confirmed Canelo Alvarez’s first defense of the WBC middleweight title will be on Cinco de Mayo weekend against Amir Khan.
The surprise announcement is compounded by Golden Boy’s confirmation that it will “exclusively” promote the fight. Khan was still thought to be managed by Al Haymon, who promoted Khan’s last fight in 2014 on the Premier Boxing Champions brand.
Khan, who’s never fought above the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and is a former lightweight, believe the risk of facing a much bigger opponent is worth it to make what is now the biggest fight on boxing’s 2016 calendar.
“I know Canelo fights the best and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to face me like others have,” said Khan, alluding to past failed negotiations against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. “My goal is to always fight the biggest names and best fighters that is why I’m excited for this fight…. I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve May 7.”
Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya predicts Canelo, who was named ESPN Fighter of the Year for his 2015 victories over James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto, will cement himself as the sport’s biggest draw with a Khan victory.
“We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing,” said De La Hoya. “Those who predicted he [Canelo] would take an easy fight for his first defense have been proven wrong once again. As for Amir, he has won his last five fights including an incredible performance against Devon Alexander, and now that he’s back where he belongs at Golden Boy Promotions, his future is very bright, once again.”
Canelo vs. Khan will air May 7 in Las Vegas on HBO pay-per-view. At press time, a venue has not been confirmed. The agreed weight in 155 pounds.