Amir Khan can shock Saul "Canelo" Alverez and win the WBC middleweight title in Las Vegas, according to four-time world champion Carl Froch. Khan will step up two weight divisions to face the Mexican in his first defence of the title on 7 May.
Alvarez beat Miguel Cotto to claim the WBC crown last November and was expected to face an interim opponent before taking on Gennady Golovkin later in the year. Khan, the former Olympic silver medallist, was meanwhile targeting a rematch with Danny Garcia – the new WBC welterweight champion.
The announcement thus comes as major surprise given the trajectory of both boxers' careers. Given the step up in class Khan must make, many are expecting Alvarez to make short work of the Briton. But Froch, who was no stranger to a big world title fight during his 11-year professional career, is tipping Khan to cause an upset.
"You've got to give Amir Khan credit for taking such a dangerous, dangerous fight," he told Sky Sports. "I was as surprised as everyone when I found out that he'd be taking on Saul Alvarez but the more I think about it, he can definitely pull off an even bigger shock and win.
"For Khan, it will be a huge risk but I honestly think he can win this. If Khan uses his speed and his range and stays on his toes for the full 12 rounds, he has a real chance. He has great boxing ability – we know that.
"If he does get caught on the way in, you've got to say he's in trouble. He is moving up another weight division and Canelo is a big puncher as well, so it is massively dangerous. But Amir has got some courage, that's for sure. I might be one of the few that is giving Khan a chance but you have got to respect him. He didn't have to take it, did he?"
Confirmation of the bout all but rules out a summer meeting with IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook at Wembley Stadium, a fight much-touted by Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn. Froch experienced the prestige of fighting at Wembley after beating George Groves in May 2014 and is saddened that the all-British fight has failed to materialise.
"It is disappointing that the fight with Kell Brook won't happen this summer, but that happens in boxing," he added. "Maybe Khan and his team priced themselves out, I don't know. Kell is the established world champion who needs a little bit more respect but if I am honest, Khan is probably the bigger name. It could well happen down the line but none of us will really know why it won't happen this summer."