Canelo vs Kirkland this weekend could well be a barnstormer, as Pundit Arena previews the 155lb. catchweight fight.
The Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas hosts young Mexican Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez (44-1-1, 31 KO) taking on heavy handed southpaw James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KO) in a Light Middleweight bout. Coverage from the 40,000 capacity baseball venue begins at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO Boxing, and on Box Nation in the U.K. and Ireland from 02:00 a.m Sunday.
Alvarez comes into the fight as a 1/6 favourite generally. The 24-year-old is often touted as the future of the sport, and he will only come under more scrutiny after last week’s ‘Fight of the Century’. An extraordinary young man, Canelo turned professional at just 15 years of age, and already has 46 professional fights to his name.
As Ann Wolfe admitted on HBO’s 24/7:
“That little redhead motha****a can fight.”
Power puncher James Kirkland is certainly up against it. He has had just two fights since 2011 due to both injuries and prison time. His personal demons have severely stunted the growth of a promising career, but he knows that a win over Canelo would suddenly thrust him into world title prominance.
Coming in off an 18-month lay-off, the Mandingo Warrior’s sole loss was to Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida by knockout. Just three of his fights have gone the distance, earning him a deserved reputation as an explosive puncher.
Usually trained by former four-division women’s boxing champion Ann Wolfe, Kirkland will be without her this weekend.. The effect of her absence from his corner will tell a lot about how the fight goes. Also, Kirkland was over 200lbs. when the fight was announced, although he looks to be in far better shape approaching the weigh in.
Shane Mosley – Saul beat ‘Sugar’ Shane comfortably in 2012, retaining his WBC Light Middleweight title.
“His defense picked up real good and he’s pretty quick. His body shots were good and his punches were good, sharp, and crisp.” – Mosley
Floyd Mayweather – No-one can accuse Canelo of ducking anybody. In September 2013, Alvarez lost a majority decision to pound for pound King Floyd Mayweather. Perhaps too green to take on the number one boxer in the world at just 22, Alvarez pushed Mayweather for 12 rounds regardless.
Alfredo Angulo – Canelo put a beating on his Mexican compatriot in what was a bruising encounter, knocking him out in the 10th.
Erislandy Lara – Alvarez defeated the Cuban export by a heavily disputed split decision. Whichever way the fight this weekend goes, it’s likely to be far more conclusive than this bout.
Alfredo Angulo – The common opponent between the two protagonists. Kirkland prevailed in a brutal slugfest, knocking Angulo out four rounds earlier than Canelo managed.
Carlos Molina – 2012 saw James defeat yet another Mexican, this time by disqualification. Up to that point, Molina was outlanding the American, and was ahead on two of the judge’s scorecards.
Glen Tapia – In December 2013, Kirkland knocked rising star Tapia out in the sixth round, handing Glen his only professional loss to date.
“Heart, dedication, preparation and true sacrifice will get you to the finish line.” – Kirkland
Prediction: With both men having an action packed, fan friendly style, expect a high level brawl that doesn’t go the distance. Everything about Kirkland is wild, so expect him to rattle Canelo a few times. As the fight goes on, the Mexican should prove too classy, and may well pounce in the later rounds to earn a 32nd KO victory.
Canelo Alvarez @ 2/11 (KO Round 10)