Canelo Alvarez: Earning a reputation for facing the bestWritten by Leroy Cleveland
On May 9, fans will be treated to a super welterweight battle between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland in what is expected to be one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year.
Canelo vs Kirkland will be televised live on HBO and will yake place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Tex.
At only 24 years old, Canelo Alvarez is already one of boxing's biggest stars. Following his loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, Canelo embarked on a successful 2014 campaign that featured wins over Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo.
In May, he will face knockout artist James Kirkland, one of the most dangerous fighters in boxing.
The 30 year old Texan is a faster, more explosive version of Alfredo Angulo with unbridled grit and determination.
Who remembers when Kirkland came back from the brink of destruction to stop Angulo in Fall 2011 in what became a 'Fight of the Year' candidate. Round 1 was Hagler vs Hearns-esque... It was that good.
James is without a major world title but has been showcased on boxing's biggest stage multiple times. So why would Canelo choose to face such a menacing opponent? He could have chosen to fight Joshua Clottey, K9 Bundrage or someone else.
Some would insist Kirkland is too much risk for the reward as Canelo is already a star and who is capable of generating handsome purses fighting fellas who pose less risk.
... But Alvarez is used to taking risks and the sport is much better for it and he's a bigger draw as a result.
In April 2013, with a Floyd Mayweather superfight on the horizon, he jeopardized it all by facing the slick Austin Trout who had just upset Miguel Cotto several months prior. And the again last year, Canelo faced the highly-avoided Erislandy Lara, deemed by many as the best fighter in the division.
What do Lara and Trout have in common? They were dangerous opponents who, unlike Floyd Mayweather and Miguel, don't have the juice or fanfare yet to generate the mainstream interest and elite-level revenue deserving of a true superfight.
Many fighters on Canelo's path would have opted for quality but "safe" opponents at this moment in his career.
Canelo deserves high praise for facing a bruiser like Kirkland, especially given the public hasn't demanded that bout and would probably be content to watch Alvarez face a less threatening opponent.
In this 'business' known as boxing, it's refreshing to see a young fighter want to face the best, regardless of purse rewards.