‘Canelo’ vs. Kirkland in Potential Fight of the YearWritten by Brian Opal
In the minds of some fight fans, the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao mega-fight didn’t live up to the years of build-up and tremendous hype that understandably led to great expectations.
But that was then, this is now. The hottest news in boxing at the moment is that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) are going to throw down tonight, May 9, in a bout that’s almost guaranteed to deliver pulse-pounding excitement, explosive fireworks and high drama!
This match-up has throwback action-attraction and The Ring’s “Fight of Year” written all over it because two legit punchers are coming to square-off, unload their heavy arsenals on each other and do their best to knock the other unconscious. Let’s cut to the chase. One of these two blood-and-guts warriors is most likely going to get stopped and/or knocked out in brutal fashion. And that’s because both fighters have tremendous power for Super Welterweights, can crack with both hands, and have the ability to put the lights out and stop the show with one or two hard, precise shots.
To be forthcoming, this is the type of fight wherein we’re going to see homerun haymakers thrown with bad intentions. This is expected to be the kind of wild, unpredictable, “there is no tomorrow” type of scrap that all sports fans have more than enough reason to get pumped about. If you enjoy thrilling, “rock ‘em, sock ‘em” back and forth battles like Foreman-Lyle, Gatti-Ward I, Hagler-Hearns or Pacquiao-Marquez IV…then look no further. Because the ring scene is going to be live and in overdrive tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas!
This sort of hard hitting, smash-mouth “Fight of the Year” prospect usually comes down to who lands first and who has the more durable chin. Which combatant has the tougher beard and can gather his senses within 10-15 seconds after being rocked? And which one can man-up and dig deep enough to overcome overwhelming adversity when he’s badly hurt and stumbling all over “queer street” like a wounded animal struggling to survive? Be sure to tune-in to standard HBO for this barnburner because we’re sure to find out who’s got the bigger brass and quien es mas macho.
Mexican fight fans have proven time and again they’re among the best in the world. Keep in mind that most will be placing their faith in Alvarez, who’s become Mexico’s boxing superstar over the past two-to-three years — especially after the presumed granite-chinned Chavez Jr. was outboxed and knocked out by underdog Andrzej Fonfara. Frankly, loads of Chavez fans have already jumped ship. Therefore, it may be an emotional high-stakes evening for “Canelo’s” fan base. After all, it’s a distinct possibility that he’ll lose and/or get stopped.
Alvarez states: "This is the first time that I am anxious to fight here and I am looking forward to fighting Kirkland. He’s coming to fight. He is dangerous and powerful. I am also powerful and aggressive and I can guarantee you, this is going to be an explosive fight.”
Viewers should expect to see heavy leather being exchanged, landed and inflicting damage. So don’t be surprised to see a knock down or two and the referee step in for a couple of ten counts. Three decade boxing-trainer James Gogue was recently asked if this is the most dangerous fight in each man’s career up to this point and he says:
“This is most dangerous fight in 'Canelo’s' career because of punching power. It’s the highest-volume punching attack he’s ever faced. All it takes is one punch! When you can punch like Kirkland all it takes is one shot to change the momentum of the fight. ‘Canelo’ too — he can crack, he can hit!”
“In order to get Kirkland’s respect, you’ve got to ‘mano a mano’... he [Canelo] has to meet Kirkland’s pressure head on, sit in the pocket, neutralize his swarming attack, and unleash sharp counter punches,” states Gogue. “How do you fight a bully? You punch him in the mouth and get his attention. You get his attention, then you take him back outside and work on your outside game. But first, you have to neutralize your opponent’s strengths."
“Mandingo’ hasn’t been in the ring for close to two years, so he’s likely to show some ring rust. Some boxing writers and analysts seem to be convinced that Kirkland will be at further disadvantage because it’s his first bout with a new trainer after leaving long-time coach/mentor Ann Wolfe. However, during training camp the underdog made a couple of comments about his new team that were quite the contrary.
Kirkland states: "I'm ready to put my life on the line and give it everything I've got. I want to show my fans what I've really come to do."
In the fight game, it just doesn’t get any more serious than that mentality and approach. There’s an age-old adage that goes as follows: “you play sports, you don’t play boxing.” “Mandingo” is the type of fighter who personifies that saying like few others in boxing today. It’s a do or die attitude and tonight he’s going to try to wreck Alvarez or will get wrecked trying.
Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions, states: "We have to pair the best styles to create the best fight. No questions asked, this is going to be the Fight of the Year.”
Extra Added Bonus
HBO will also be replaying Mayweather vs. Pacquiao during this broadcast for everyone who missed the “fight of the century” or wants to see the historic event once again.