There are many who have already written off Amir Khan as having no legitimate chance to defeat Canelo Alvarez for the middleweight world championship when they meet on May 7 (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
England’s Khan has his detractors because he has had his best success in the 140-pound junior welterweight division, where he unified two world titles and beat the likes of Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah, but is going to fight Alvarez at a catch weight of 155 pounds.
Khan, who has won three fights in a row as a full-fledged 147-pound welterweight -- decisions against former titleholders Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander and former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri in his most recent fight in May -- has also been knocked out in two of this three losses, both of which came against opponents much smaller than Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs), the Mexican superstar.
But don’t bother trying to dissuade Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) from his belief in himself that he can pull the upset and lift the title from Alvarez, who will be making his first defense since outpointing Miguel Cotto to win it (also at 155 pounds) in November in Las Vegas.
"When I was 17 and in the Olympics I was an underdog,” Khan said on Monday as the promotion kicked off a three-city, two-country media tour with a news conference in London. “No one gave me a chance of winning a medal. Everyone thought I was going to lose then. This is what this feels like now.”
To the surprise of almost everyone, Khan wound up claiming a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, losing in the final to all-time great Cuban amateur Mario Kindelan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2000 and 2004) and three-time world amateur champion (1999, 2001, 2003).
Kindelan was one of the great amateur fighters in history and Khan was just a teenager when they met for gold. A few months after the Olympics they met in a rematch in which both would compete in their final amateur fight. Khan avenged the Olympic final loss and then turned professional while Kindelan retired.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said he was not at all surprised that Khan agreed to fight Alvarez, especially after he had already been rebuffed for big fights against both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
"Amir Khan is a warrior who does not avoid anyone but has been avoided, and Canelo is the No. 1 superstar in boxing and always wants to take on the very best,” De La Hoya said.
Khan said he understands why people question his chances against Alvarez, but he does not question himself.
"Alvarez is a dangerous fighter,” Khan said. “People keep asking me why I want to fight this big fighter. I really believe I can win in this fight. What will win this fight is speed, determination and skill. My dream has always been to fight the best and test myself, and in Canelo I'm facing just that."
Alvarez trainer Eddy Reynoso said their side is not going to take Khan lightly at all.
"We're up against a great fighter, one who is fast,” Reynoso said. “Many people think Amir is not worthy of this fight but he is and all the fans can expect an exciting fight from the first round."
The media tour will continue on Tuesday afternoon in New York and concludes Wednesday evening in Los Angeles.