The long shots are romping home in 2016 with Leicester City leading the way as the 5000-1 champions of English football.
Rule The World galloped off with the Grand National at 33-1.
Donald Trump entered the US presidential election race as a 200-1 outsider but now takes his seat for the first big fight in the brand spanking new T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip with the Republican party’s nomination already wrapped up.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Amir Khan weighed in ahead of the fight at the T-Mobile Arena this weekend
The pair weighed in at 155lbs but they are both expected to add more bulk before the fight on Saturday night
The billionaire businessman is coming to see if Amir Khan can overturn the casino odds of 11-2 against him by upsetting 1-4 on favourite Canelo Alvarez to win the world middleweight championship.
‘It’s the year of the underdog,’ says Khan. ‘This Saturday it’s my turn.’
If so, he will not only confound the bookmakers but overcome a daunting weight disadvantage expected to be almost one stone by the time the pair of them enter the ring.
That would represent not only the upset of the year but also the most remarkable victory in the history of UK boxers abroad.
Beyond that, Khan would finally reach out for the Holy Grail of the ring which he has been craving through the 12 years since he won silver for Britain at the Athens Olympics: recognition as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Amir Khan returns to the ring on Saturday night where he faces Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas
The T-Mobile Arena will be hosting the WBC middleweight title bout between Alvarez and Khan
Alvarez, four years Khan’s junior at 25, already enjoys that distinction and is the idol of his Mexican people, tens of thousands of whom are flooding onto the Strip for their Cinco de Mayo national celebration weekend.
Khan says: ‘I know I’m the underdog but this is my chance to take over as the superstar of boxing, the face of our sport. This is the mega-fight in the world capital of boxing which has always been my dream. For me this is about the glory, not the money.’
Not that the purse is to be sneezed at. There have been widely varying estimates but the most reliable calculation is that Khan is guaranteed $5 million, Canelo $9 million.
The disparity which preoccupies Khan the most is not the dollars but the poundage. Although he stands one inch taller than Alvarez, the unusually red-haired Mexican is significantly heavier.
The 29-year-old is determined to make his mark during the year of the underdog in the sporting world
Khan is looking for recognition as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world against Alvarez
Khan won his two world titles at lightweight. Canelo won his first as light-middle, then claimed the lineal WBC and Ring magazine middleweight belts with last November’s defeat of Miguel Cotto.
That match for the classic 160lbs title was made at the catch-weight 155lbs, which is again in effect here.
Alvarez is among a minority in boxing who approve of championships being won at artificial weights but it has opened the door to Aladdin’s Cave for Khan, who says: ‘I don’t really like catch-weights but this limit has given me an opportunity to make history which I am seizing with both hands.’
Canelo’s only career defeat came by majority decision against Floyd Mayweather three years ago
Khan’s last defeat came by knockout to Danny Garcia, with the Britain hitting the canvas in round four
Khan’s three most recent fights have been in the 147lbs welterweight division. Going up a full division plus one pound is a stretch he can make but there is another catch to Canelo’s preference for boxing at 155 lbs. A dangerous one.
In the 30 hours between the official weigh-in and the first bell, Alvarez will put on anything up to a stone-and-a-half.
He is expected to enter the ring weighing about 175lbs, while Khan is likely to duck through the ropes at approximately 162lbs.
Even though Khan has been adding more muscle in training he cannot bulk above that without detriment to his fabled speed, the weapon which offers his best chance of shocking the world.
Since he frankly admits his punches are unlikely to hurt or deter Alvarez he must rely on those quick hands to rack up the points and his nimble feet to keep him out of serious harm’s way.
That will require sustained focus through every minute of the 12 championship rounds. As he says: ‘One mistake against an opponent as powerful as Canelo and it could be all over for me in a split-second.’
Alvarez is expected to enter the ring at 175lbs, while Khan is likely to duck the ropes at approximately 162lbs
If that happens, Khan insists it will not be the end of the world for him. He says: ‘This is a tremendous challenge for me. I believe I can win but if not I will carry on campaigning at the highest level.
‘I will not retire before I become a world champion again. And not immediately then. If I do it here this Saturday night and find I am comfortable at middleweight I will consider another huge risk, a massive title unification fight against Gennady Golovkin. If not, there are many big fights for me back at welterweight.’
There is method in what many regard as his madness in taking on Alvarez.
Oscar De La Hoya, the Mexican icon whose Golden Boy company promotes Canelo, admits he is ‘getting nervous about this fight.’
De La Hoya is one of less than a handful of light-welterweight champions who won a world middleweight title but the fight he remembers most vividly at the moment is his loss to a young Manny Pacquiao.
He says: ‘I was the bigger man and people were actually saying they feared for Manny. But look what happened. His speed beat me and his power was more than I expected.
‘Now we have another classic match up between speed and power. And you know, in the big fights between these styles down the years speed has won.’
Khan insists that he will not retire before becoming a world champion once again
Although Khan stands one inch taller than Alvarez, the unusually red-haired Mexican is significantly heavier
Remind him that it needed the genius of Floyd Mayweather to inflict the only loss in Canelo’s phenomenal 48 fight career thus and he says: ‘There was a reason why both Floyd and Manny refused to fight Khan. In my mind Amir is the favourite.’
In the eyes of most of us, there are two possible outcomes.
Hard-headed logic insists that while Khan can enjoy some success in the first half of the fight, Alvarez will catch up with him as his legs tire from carrying the extra weight and stop him in the later rounds. Perhaps the tenth.
Soft-hearted optimism supposes that Khan, who expresses confidence in the Nevada judges treating him fairly, can speed his way to victory on their card. Maybe by split decision.
Well, this is the year of the underdog. Let’s take a patriotic punt on the latter. Like Amir Khan, what have we got to lose?
*Alvarez v Khan will be televised early on Sunday morning (UK time) on BoxNation.
- Russia moves to extinguish pro-Navalny 'flashlight' protests
- Fishy origin of fossil ‘monster’
- First Afghanistan evacuees arrive in Germany: Photos
- Insight into Newcastle boss Eddie Howe’s January transfer plans
- UN says violence in Iraq amid Islamic State group war kills at least 1,375 people in January
- “I am happy at Inter” Romelu Lukaku has his say on his future