Monday, January 30, 2023  |



Canelo Alvarez stops James Kirkland in three-round thriller



Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland gave fans two-plus rounds they won’t soon forget Saturday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Alvarez put Kirkland down three times and stopped him at 2:19 of the third round, punctuating a breathtaking battle that started with the opening bell and didn’t end until Kirkland lie semiconscious on the canvas.

As expected, Kirkland (32-2, 28 knockouts) attacked Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 knockouts) from the first second. Alvarez patiently withstood the onslaught, waiting for his opening. And when it presented itself, well, it was the beginning of the end for Kirkland.

Canelo began to land hard shorts by mid-round, when a straight right sent the Texan to canvas for the first time. Kirkland, who was hurt, somehow survived that round and the next – demonstrating a tremendous chin and uncommon will – and continued to throw punches but took an inordinate number of punishing punches.

Finally, in the third round, a perfect right uppercut put Kirkland down again. He got up but then took a huge straight right and crashed to the canvas, prompting referee Jon Schorle to save him from further punishment.

The punch stats reflected Alvarez’s dominance. He landed a ridiculous 60 percent of his power shots (79 of 132) and 58 percent of his total punches (87 of 150). Kirkland connected on 23 percent of his power punches (41 of 177) and 21 percent overall (42 of 197).

It was an impressive performance from Alvarez, who scored one of the more spectacular knockouts in recent memory. And Kirkland didn’t hurt his stock much; who wouldn’t want to see him fight again?

Next up for Alvarez? Could be Miguel Cotto in what would be an important Mexico vs. Puerto Rico pay-per-view fight before the end of the year.

“I’m ready for any rival. I don’t run away from anyone. I’m ready for anyone,” Alvarez said after the fight.

A full story will follow shortly.