(Reuters) - Challenger Amir Khan readily accepts that he is a huge underdog for his WBC middleweight title clash with Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas on Saturday but has promised to give his much bigger opponent “a boxing lesson”.
Englishman Khan has moved up two weight divisions to take on the flame-haired Mexican, whose only loss in 48 professional fights was to undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.
“I’m not supposed to win,” Khan told reporters while preparing for an eagerly anticipated fight scheduled to go 12 rounds at the T-Mobile Arena. “I’m a guy who’s supposed to walk in and get beaten.
“But I’m not going to let that happen. It’s about being disciplined. I can’t lose focus. I haven’t respected the guys who’ve hurt me (in the past). Knowing you can be hurt, your defense is sharper.
“This is a huge fight, as Canelo is a star in Mexico and America. I know I’m here as the underdog, but I’m ready to win and take this WBC belt back to my home in England.”
Khan (31-3, 19 knockouts) is a two-time former world champion and has oozed confidence in Las Vegas this week despite not having fought since his unanimous decision over American Chris Algieri nearly a year ago.
“I wouldn’t have taken this fight if I didn’t think I could take it,” said the 29-year-old from Bolton. “I have trained for everything and worked on my speed and my power.
“A win against Canelo would be one of the biggest wins of my career because he is a superstar, especially on this Cinco de Mayo weekend in front of everyone.
“The fans will be very happy on Saturday night. I will be the new world champion. I think it will be difficult to knock Canelo out, but I know I can give him a boxing lesson.”
Former WBA and WBC super welterweight champion Alvarez, who lost both world titles on a majority decision to Mayweather, is a 5-1 favorite for an intriguing matchup that will pit the Mexican’s power against the Englishman’s speed.
“There is a difference between wanting and doing,” said the 25-year-old from Guadalajara, who has an impressive record of 46-1-1, including 32 knockouts. “On Saturday night, we will see who will give who a boxing lesson.
“I know what Amir Khan brings. He is a very fast, very elusive, very tricky fighter, but I am confident with the work that’s been done that I will be able to go in there and break this down.
“I’m training hard for 12 rounds, I’m ready to go all of those rounds,” said Alvarez, who claimed the WBC middleweight crown with a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in November. “But if the knockout presents itself, I’m ready to take it.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue