The atmosphere was jovial at the Park Plaza hotel in London yesterday where promoter Oscar De La Hoya hosted a press conference to promote Saul Alvarez’ WBC middleweight defense against Britain’s Amir Khan. Khan will “officially” go up to the middleweight class to face the “ginger Mexican” on May 7th, even though the bout will be at a catchweight of 155lb, just one pound over the light-middleweight division. It was announced that Alvarez will battle the challenger at the newly built T-Mobile venue in Las Vegas.
“For the first time I’m fighting someone who is heavier and also a bigger name, but that will bring the best out in me,” said Khan. Normally I’m the one who is supposed to win the fight and that puts a lot of pressure on you. This time I don’t feel that pressure. A lot of people think I won’t be strong or big enough for this guy,” he said. But at middleweight I will get to hold onto my muscle and my strength. The speed is still there too – I’ve not lost it by putting on more muscle. If I was just going to stand there and trade, this would not be a good fight for me. But guys who move well give Canelo big problems. And that is what I do.”
Khan vocally used Sugar Ray Leonard to remind the attending fans and media that anything is possible in boxing when the 5 time champion moved up to face Marvin Hagler and defeated him over 12 rounds back in 1987. The Bolton fighter also voiced his displeasure at attempting to get the big fights and stated that many major names were turning their backs against him. He commended Alvarez for taking him on.
The British fans passionately cheered Khan on while playfully boo’d the visiting champion, but Alvarez kept his composure and smiled. The WBC presented the two boxers with a potted plant, and heavyweight David Haye got in on the proceedings and all had their photo taken with it. A sight that temporarily strayed from the ordinary path that the conference was supposed to! Alvarez was also given a gift by the organisation, a bracelet in the shape and design of the WBC belt which was given a respectful moderate applause.
The whole affair reminded oneself of being in the aforementioned Las Vegas, with the whole event being quite extravagant, no doubt due to the request of the former six weight champion turned boxing promoter, De La Hoya.