Wednesday, February 01, 2023  |



Fully recovered, Canelo focuses on Texas showdown with Kirkland

Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya (R) with Canelo Alvarez. Photo by Dennis Poroy - Getty Images.

Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya (R) with Canelo Alvarez. Photo by Dennis Poroy/Getty Images.


Promoters have been known for throwing out a few exaggerated statements here and there, every now and then, and most of them are usually linked to a future fight in which one of their prot├®g├®s will participate. But sometimes some of those statements actually capture the essence of a fighter.

Oscar De La Hoya may have accomplished that rare feat during a recent conference call.

“Canelo is a fearless fighter who is ready to take on the best fighters in his division,” said De La Hoya, owner of Golden Boy Promotions, the company that has guided a fighter who has already demonstrated that readiness by taking on some of the most diverse talents his division has had to offer.

On May 9, only a week after the most hyped event in the history of boxing, Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 knockouts) will face James Kirkland (32-1, 28 knockouts) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, in hopes of adding yet another stylistic challenge to his already stellar resume against a fighter who keeps things interesting and dangerous.

“[Kirkland] is a southpaw fighter who always comes forward, with a respectable punching power. He can KO an opponent with just one punch,” said Canelo during a recent conference call. “He is a southpaw who throws punches from all angles and that makes him even more difficult. He is a dangerous opponent. I believe that his punching power is what makes him most dangerous.”

At the age of 24, Alvarez is already a seasoned veteran who can easily assess his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses as easily as he finds a way to neutralize them later. He has dealt with every style imaginable, from the elusive Erislandy Lara to a brawling Alfredo Angulo, from the savvy old fox in Shane Mosley to the complete package in Floyd Mayweather Jr. So far, only Mayweather has managed a victory and even though Canelo didn’t always exactly dominate his foes from beginning to end, he did manage to establish his superiority against those he has defeated.

And he hopes to add yet another notch to his gun handle in his next fight as well, this time without worrying so much about scoring a stoppage.

“Most of the people say it’s going to be a KO but I am getting ready for 12 rounds, as always,” said Canelo, who has usually felt the pressure from fans and press alike to send his opponents home early. “I never like to predict a KO but, if there is a KO, I have to seize the opportunity.”

His recent recovery from an injury has also caused some restraint, as he dealt with a few bothersome impediments that kept him away from his best form. And Canelo sees a blessing in disguise in that situation because it helped him delay this dream match-up against Kirkland until he was more mature and ready.

“The fight came up at the right moment,” said Canelo, when asked about why the fight was not made a couple of years ago when Kirkland was still unbeaten. “I had an injury in the shoulder a few years ago and, in that occasion, I couldn’t do it. He is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and that’s why we made the fight. And we are getting ready for that because we know how dangerous the fight is.”

Canelo insists his injury is in the past, however, and that his outlook for this fight is considerably better than what it would have been a few years ago.

“We are recuperated; thank God. Obviously we know how dangerous Kirkland is. He is a fighter who is strong and very dangerous but that’s what we’re training for, a strong fighter. I am training with the right sparring partners with Kirkland’s style. I believe I am more intelligent than him in the ring and I believe this will take me to victory.”

Coming off another minor foot injury recently, Canelo dismissed all the rumors about his preparedness for this fight noting it will not be about physical condition but instead the fight will revolve around the one variable that makes great fights – style. And he believes (in consonance with most observers), that Kirkland’s style is the right one for him to show he can deal with any possible situation.

“Kirkland’s style will complement mine,” said Canelo. “He is a fighter who likes to come forward. I like to challenge myself and I am not afraid to fight southpaws. I want to feel satisfied with myself and I also want to put on fights that the people want to watch.”