During a press conference in San Antonio, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was selling his fight with James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland, hoping that the combination of strength and aggressiveness between the two will result in a fan-worthy spectacle.
The soft-spoken redhead from Mexico is not one to talk trash or insult his opponent before a fight. He maintains the same professional demeanor and composure outside the ring as he does during a fight.
“I am very happy to be with Golden Boy Promotions. They want to make the best fights, and so do I,” Canelo said. “I want to give fans an exciting night of boxing on May 9.”
Canelo (44–1-1, 31 KO) once fought in San Antonio in 2013 against Austin Trout, when both fighters were undefeated titleholders at 154 pounds. Nearly 40,00 fans attended the unification bout and saw Canelo drop Trout (28-2, 15 KO) in the seventh round en route to a unanimous twelve round decision. Canelo is looking forward to fighting in front of a crowd that has embraced him and hopes to deliver to them a thrilling battle.
“This is the first time that I am anxious to fight here, and I am looking forward to fighting Kirkland,” Canelo said. “He is 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.”
Canelo assumes the role of boxer-puncher, meaning that he moves around the center of the ring, dipping and weaving while he looks to land meaningful punches behind a stiff jab. His trademark punch is a digging left hook to the body that he uses to distract his opponent while he follows up with crisp right hands.
Against hard punching pressure fighters, Canelo’s ring savvy shines through, as evident in his March 2014 bout with Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo. Canelo busted up the once revered attack dog and won via TKO in a ten round fight that he dominated from start to finish.
In his last fight in July 2014 against Erislandy Lara, Canelo struggled in the early half of the fight trying to close the distance with the fleet-footed Cuban. Canelo won but looked less than unbeatable over twelve rounds.
Canelo’s lone defeat was at the hands of the Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in September 2013. Money outclassed the then 23-year-old in a twelve round boxing clinic in what was the highest grossing pay-per-view fight in history, selling $150 million.
Canelo may have shown vulnerability to slick boxers in the past. However, the “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland is not expected to box with the Mexican hero; he is expected to fight and slug with him.
Kirkland shares a common opponent with Canelo in Alfredo Angulo, who Kirkland beat in 2011. Kirkland stopped Angulo in six rounds during a barnburner fight that saw both men hit the canvas.
Canelo-Kirkland was once slated for 2012 however Kirkland pulled out citing an injury. Now that the fight is scheduled, many are expecting it to end inside the distance. Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter, acknowledges the threat Kirkland poses to Canelo and welcomes a good show.
“We have all seen what Kirkland can do,” De La Hoya said. “He is a tough fighter. But, these are the types of the fights that Canelo loves, the fights for the fans.”