Lederman on Canelo-Kirkland

By Robert Ecksel on May 7, 2015
Lederman on Canelo-Kirkland
The bitter aftertaste of the most recent “Fight of the Century” will be washed clean.

The science of boxing may take a hit in Houston Saturday night, but the art of destruction will be fondly recalled…

“I did copies of Picasso. I couldn’t afford to buy originals. He has a helluva perspective. People thought he was weird at first, but he took it like a champ.”—Former middleweight champion Rocky Graziano (Sarasota Journal, Nov. 17, 1976)

HOUSTON, Texas—I was in the Picasso Room at the Marriott in downtown Houston today for the final presser before the war between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland. Picasso notwithstanding, almost everyone in attendance expects to see a masterpiece on canvas. The science of boxing may take a hit Saturday night, but the art of destruction will be fondly recalled.

After watching two master boxers last week, only one of whom was masterful, the possibility of an old-school Texas shootout is just what the doctor ordered. The bitter aftertaste of the most recent “Fight of the Century” will be washed clean. That superb boxing will be forgotten amid the bursting bombs’ red glare.

Among those in the Picasso Room this afternoon was HBO’s Harold Lederman. Nattily dressed and always well informed, I asked him about this weekend’s main event.

“I think this weekend should be a sensational weekend of boxing. I don’t think either guy is going to come in 60 percent,” laughed Lederman. “I think these are two really evenly matched guys. James Kirkland I think without question is one of the hardest hitters in the junior middleweight division. And the fact that he’s a southpaw, he can really hurt you. He blinds you with that right jab, and then he whacks you with the straight left. The kid can really punch. And he’s relentless. He’ll stay right on top of you and beat the hell out of you.”

It sounds like Harold has a soft spot for James Kirkland.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “Canelo Alvarez has got more skill than any 24-year-old I’ve ever seen. He does everything. He moves. He boxes. He punches. Everything is four, five, six punches at a time. The combinations are gorgeous. He punches to the body. He turns to hook under. He’s got a tremendous amount of skill for a 24-year-old kid. I mean he’s way above his age. He’s like a guy who’s 35 years old with all the knowledge he’s got in the ring.”

It looked like light was emanating from Lederman.

“It’s going to be a great fight,” he said. “A real good boxer and pretty good puncher in Canelo against a very good puncher in James Kirkland, who’s out and out mean. James looks as good as he ever did. I think the Glen Tapia fight gave him a little confidence. He stopped Tapia, what, six rounds? Probably the referee should have stopped it around three, the way it was going. But James looks like he’s ready. I don’t know why he changed trainers. We’ll see if it does him any good. It didn’t the last time, but maybe this time it will be a little different.”

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  1. Reynaldo Dizon 03:24pm, 05/20/2015

    You have to admit Canelo-Kirkland Fight was far more exciting than Mayweather-Pacquiao. And please do not give Mayweather any credit over Pacquiao. They both suck.

  2. Joe G. (R.I.P. Alexis Arguello) 08:42am, 05/09/2015

    I was with Kirkland for this fight but the fact that he left Ann Wolfe behind makes me just want to sit back and watch a very intriguing bout. Canelo needs to box and as much of the prior comments eluded to if he tries to go to war and that Mexican “machismo” comes out it will be a long, painful night. Regardless. Canelo will walk away with the W but how he achieves it will be interesting to watch. I would love to see Kirkland’s new trainer, Bob Santos, show his ability as a trainer and not just a strength and conditioning coach because as he said (paraphrased) “Every great trainer started somewhere,” and that is very true. I would like to see this young man make a name for himself and continue on to greatness. Nowhere does it say that top superstars need only have Roach, Garcia, Shields etc. in order to be successful. Just do not like that fact that he left Ann. Remember he was dropped on his way to stardom by Nobuhiro Ishida who was an 18 to 1 underdog pre-fight when left Ann for the first time. We may see the same result tonight.

  3. Ted Sares 05:56am, 05/08/2015

    Pete, Harold is the best. What you see is what you get. A very nice man.

  4. Pete The Sneak 04:15am, 05/08/2015

    I think Canelo’s chin will be seriously tested should Mandingo connect with a hard solid left..I see a little Hagler/Hearns type of engagement in the first couple of rounds, and if Kirkland doesn’t get Canelo in trouble early, Canelo will break Mandingo down and stop him late…Looking forward to this…By the by, Harold Lederman is one of the real good guys in boxing. I may not always agree with his score cards, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Harold in NY several times and the man is as engaging, polite and humble a person you would want to meet. Literally loves to talk boxing 24/7…Peace.

  5. Ted Sares 05:55pm, 05/07/2015

    And remember what he did to Perro. He can win early or late in a fight.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:45pm, 05/07/2015

    James down a total of 5 times in the first round by three different opponents and rocked by overhand slap by Berrio in the first round as well….Canelo has got to give it a shot in the first three minutes especially right hands because if Kirkland gets out of the round it could be a long night’s work!

  7. Ted Sares 04:03pm, 05/07/2015

    Great fight with a lot of “ifs:.” If Canelo goes to war, he will lose because Mandingo thrives in a firefight, but if Canelo outboxes him, Mandingo’s untested corner will come into play and that spells big trouble for the Texan. And remember, Kirkland is most dangerous when he is hurt because he is so heavy handed that one good counter can turn things around faster than you can say “Tapia.” Also, he is a good closer so Canelo better not gas..

    This is one that could be a shoot out, but Canelo might be too smart for that.

  8. Koolz 03:42pm, 05/07/2015

    I hate to say this but Canelo really is Gold Boy’s Hype Job!
    He will constantly through around the “Canelo will fight GGG BS”
    or he will say my Guy Canelo can beat anyone BS!
    Really it’s not Canelo’s fault, he tries and fights anyone he just happens be with Golden Boy Morons.
    How does a famous boxer stay so far and become one of the idiot promoters.

    The Canelo Kirland fight is sort of interesting.  I see Canelo beating Kirkland.

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