Mexico’s number one boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez gathered his forces at his San Diego training grounds to talk about his upcoming conflict with Texan James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland near the old NASA Johnson Space Center.
Space flight anybody?
The expected junior middleweight war between Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 Kos) and Kirkland (32-1, 28 Kos) takes place on Saturday, May 9, at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. HBO will televise the Golden Boy Promotions fight card that also features East L.A.’s Frankie Gomez.
It’s only fitting that the Alvarez-Kirkland fight takes a back seat to the epic welterweight battle coming next week. Floyd Mayweather remains the only prizefighter that defeated Alvarez. It’s a loss that the Mexican redhead seems to take with pride, not animosity.
“You’re always learning in this game. Always going to the gym and correcting these things,” said Alvarez about losing to Mayweather. “Sometimes the opponents are not willing to participate.”
Alvarez learned against Mayweather that entertaining fans does not always equal winning a fight. Against Mayweather he discovered this and against Erislandy Lara he corrected his flaws but still barely won.
Now the muscular junior middleweight faces a mirror image in Houston’s Kirkland, who is also muscular and perhaps more powerful. Banging is his business.
Kirkland, always respectful, does his real talking in the boxing ring. But one thing he’s outspoken about is that the winner should receive a fight against Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto.
“As a fighter we want the fight. We’re all three the same type of fighters,” said Kirkland about Cotto, Alvarez and himself. “I want to fight somebody just like me. Somebody that rivals me.”
Alvarez refuses to talk about Cotto. His primary focus remains Kirkland and he’s not shy to explain.
“At this particular time my only focus is James Kirkland. There have been talks about Cotto for a long time, but my focus is James Kirkland,” said Alvarez. “He’s a dangerous fighter, a rival. I prepared well for him.”
Alvarez defeated Alfredo “Perro” Angulo by technical knockout in round 10 and Kirkland stopped him in six. Though Kirkland has suffered a knockout loss in his career and Alvarez has never been knocked down, few have been able to withstand the power of Kirkland.
It’s less than three weeks until the junior middleweight launch.
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