Greats rate Amir Khan’s intestines but not his opportunities against Canelo Alvarez

Bernard Hopkins has praised Amir Khan for daring to be great but, like other former fighters and the bookmakers, doubts if he will take Canelo lvarezs WBC middleweight title

It was the best hour of an otherwise ordinary week, four of boxings all-time greats sharing a stage and their supposes on what will either has become a night of victory or catastrophe for Amir Khan here on Saturday.

Evander Holyfield predicted the Bolton underdog may beat the WBC middleweight champion, Sal Canelo lvarez, and Oscar De La Hoya his promoters grin never far from showing off his perfect white teeth also devoted due kudo to the challenger for moving up two weight class and daring to be great.

Lennox Lewis, appearing more statesmanlike every time he reappears, spoke with quiet eloquence on behalf of the members of British fighters, luxuriating in the statistic that we have 11 world champs and putting a reasonable example for Khan. Speed plus weight equals power, the former undisputed heavyweight champ pointed out to his illustrious colleagues, who nodded sagely.

But it was Bernard Hopkins who constructed the most piercing observations. At hours having to talk through the interjections of the moderator, the 51 -year-old who seems as if he has stolen the body of someone 25 years younger was adamant that any boxer who believes he can do great things is more than halfway to achieving great things.

This clicks with the very American addiction to goals and dreamings, the sort of aspirational hokum that sustains Hollywood and bad novels, but there is no denying it is a presence in boxing and always has been. As Hopkins pointed out, during his career he was rarely the favourite in the fights that really mattered even when he fought the man sitting next to him, De La Hoya, whom he cut down with a wicked body shot in the ninth round when they opposed at a catchweight of 157lbs two pounds up from Saturday nights concurred limit in 2004.

It has been Hopkins theme all week: salvation and miracles. Earlier he told Boxing News: If you want to be great, or dare to be great, you do what Amir Khan has done and no one is going to blame you if you fail, because you didnt genuinely fail. Its called credibility in boxing. Do you want to be talked about for a minute or do you want to be “was talkin about a” in time?

Ever the contrarian, Hopkins predicted lvarez will stop Khan in the later rounds and he is in good company. For all the appreciation being bellowed on behalf of the smaller man, there are not too many experts in this gambling oasis prepared to match those fine terms with finance.

Most outlets dedicate Khan a 4-1 opportunity, or thereabouts; lvarez mirrors the polar price as a hot favourite. The other bet hard to call is if Donald Trump will break off from his presidential campaign and deliver on his promise/ threat to take a seat in the new T-Mobile Arena on the invitation of his sometime golfing partner, De La Hoya. If he does, he at least deserves credit for chutzpah.

Trumps strawberry face is certainly be redder than usual after the Mexican-Muslim massive give him the benefit of their combined fury. The bile and disdain he has spilled on both communities in recent weeks and months does not seem to have dented his popularity among the hardcore fanatics who believe in him but there are few of those in this town, where Bernie Sanders won over Clarke County Democrat at their convention last month.

Sport and politics have always had an edgy relationship in the United States and lvarez gave voice to that when he was asked what he thought about Trump coming to the fight. He reminded the presumptive Republican candidate that his poor and fighting countrymen had not come to his country to rob and steal. They were out in the fields, lvarez told, working hard.

Khan came to the two-party party, as well, making a pointed joke about Trumps threat to ban Muslims from entering the country as a counter-terrorist move. You never know, he said on Wednesday, this could be the last fight for me and Canelo here if Donald Trump becomes president.

And that set a tone that has been a feature of this promotion and this fight. The champ and his challenger have rich veins of decency and good manners operating through them. So polite are they that the edge promoters crave has been almost totally absent.

Whatever contractual points of difference they had and the weight was a sticking point for a while were resolved long ago. The fight was one of the easiest in recent memory to procure, both fighters keen to take it.

The seats have been sold. The talking has all but dwindled to zero. And into that weird and unique calm will step lvarez and Khan, primed to entertain and, unavoidably, to suffer. In that most relevant department of the debate, Hopkins and the bookmakers are more likely got it right.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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