Canelo-Kirkland Preview

By Robert Ecksel on May 7, 2015
Canelo-Kirkland Preview
“I went straight to it and said, this is a must, dude, this is a fight the fans wants to see.”

Saturday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, Canelo Alvarez meets James Kirkland in a war scheduled for 12 rounds…

HOUSTON, Texas—It’s been one helluva week. But now that the dust has settled, now that Planet Boxing lay in ruins, it’s time to start rebuilding our sport, brick by brick, punch by punch, one explosive fight by one explosive fight at a time.

Saturday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, former WBA/WBC super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, meets James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), aka the Mandingo Warrior, from Austin, Texas, in a war scheduled for 12 rounds.

“I’m very happy that my upcoming fight with James Kirkland will air on HBO (at 9:00 PM ET/PT),” said Canelo. “It will be exciting, explosive and should not be missed. Kirkland is a dangerous fighter. He is coming to fight. He is dangerous and powerful and I can guarantee you, this is going to be an explosive fight. I promise my fans I will be victorious and invite everyone to come out and join us at Minute Maid Park on May 9. They will not be disappointed.”

After last week’s botched extravaganza—sold as Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Fight of the Century and Resurrection all in one—we have every intention of holding Canelo to his “promise.” If that fails, if he fails—unlikely since styles make fights—we’re going to climb to the top of Mt. Everest and jump.

But Kirkland, like Canelo, can keep a beat. If James is his old self, his best self, and if he’s injury free, he’ll be ready to rumble on fight night.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for,” said Kirkland. “Canelo is the opponent I get asked about more than any other fighter. I’m ready to show my skills to the world and shut down the people who doubt me. I’m ready to put my life on the line and give it everything I’ve got. Come fight night you will see a great fight between two warriors and I know at the end of the night my hand will be raised in victory. I want to show my fans what I’ve really come to do.”

Still only 24, Canelo is an industry unto himself. Charismatic and freckle faced, the Mexican wunderkind has legions of fans who hang on his every word and punch. Although he has “fought and beaten the best,” according to a recent press release, the best are listed as Carlos Baldomir, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, and Erislandy Lara. Canelo’s only loss, a ballsy encounter for which he was handsomely rewarded, was his one-dimensional turn against masterful Floyd Mayweather.

Kirkland also has a single loss. It wasn’t, however, to Money Mayweather, to whom everyone loses, injured or not. It was to Nobuhiro Ichida in 2011, a first round TKO to the light hitting Japanese journeyman. That was the rare fight without Ann Wolfe in Kirkland’s corner. Saturday will be another rare fight with the lady absent.

Kirkland explained why he decided to change trainers.

“One of the reasons is that I just have to put out there is that the techniques and the things that I need to work on, to be able to win the fight, the strategies are what I have taken away when I was with Ann Wolfe. So, I know a lot of the fans say you won, you had so much success with Ann, and I know and understand this. B at the same time, I know there was a lot more to the table that I needed to bring. I needed to harden, create more determination and I will eagerly take advantage of my opponent. You can’t take that away from me. Before I met Ann, that’s always been me, but I thought that I needed more to bring to the table than something that I already have and possess. So, that’s what made me move on and I feel it is a smart decision.”

It sounds like Kirkland plans to forego the tactical for good old modern warfare.

“Man,” he said, “this is one of the opportunities I’ve been wanting. So, since the layoff and they end up came knocking at the door and I answered and I went straight to it and said hey, this is a must, dude, this is a fight that I know the fans wants to see. It’s a fight that I’m truly prepared for.”

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  1. NYIrish 09:20pm, 05/08/2015

    Kirkland is a dangerous guy. His last fight was in 2013. He does not get better with inactivity. He gets in trouble. If Canelo is the fighter I think he is, he will rise to the occasion and have all the fight out of Kirkland before the seventh round. Canelo needs to take the lead and keep it. He has to hurt Kirkland early and often.

  2. Kid Blast 11:03am, 05/07/2015

    Mike Silver, of course, But as for Mandingo’s heart, I have no questions. The worse thing Canelo (or anyone else for that matter) is to get into a fire fight with Kirkland. He thrives on that and once he is hit hard, he becomes a monster. He also is a very dangerous guy to get gassed on. He knows how to close.

    I like both fighters and have been a Canelo supporter long before any one even heard about him, but this one will really tell me just how good he is. This is about the best fighting the best. This is about real warriors getting in there. Real men who come to fight.

    Angulo, btw, was ruined by Kirkland and finished off by Canelo.

  3. nicolas 10:34am, 05/07/2015

    I have to pick Alvarez, Kirkland has been less active, and does not seem to really have the discipline to become a great fighter, with all the problems he has had outside the ring. I even feel it might not be the great fight that everyone expects, for me I have never found Alvarez all that exciting. However, if Kirland were to pull off an upset, and with Mayweather saying he plans to give up the belts, could anyone not see the desire to have a Mayweather Kirkland fight.

  4. Eric 08:38am, 05/07/2015

    If boxing ever needed a Foreman-Lyle type shoot-out, now is the time. This bout looks awfully good on paper. I’m picking Canelo, but I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if there were an upset.

  5. Mike Silver 08:20am, 05/07/2015

    Kid Blast, IMO Canelo is a tougher customer than Angulo and a superior puncher. It’s a war as long as it lasts and the fighter who wants it more will win.

  6. Kid Blast 07:45am, 05/07/2015

    Hmm, What’s wrong with Mandingo’s heart, Mike? Looked pretty solid against Angulo. I’d say the fighter with the better corner wins and that’s Canelo. Without Ann, Mandingo will be in major trouble if he gets into trouble

  7. Mike Silver 07:42am, 05/07/2015

    A natural match up of aggressive punchers. Will be exciting while it lasts. Of course the fighter with the better chin and heart will win. That is Canelo.

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