Kirkland-Canelo Kirkland Hires Cotto’s Advisor and Angel “Memo” Heredia


James-Kirkland1We had all hoped that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Miguel Cotto would challenge Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the sake of Cinco de Mayo’s future by challenging each other for the lineal middleweight title on that same date, but like most things in boxing it was too good to happen on its first real attempt at negotiations.

Still, we weren’t left completely disappointed as Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo’s promoter, went with “Plan B” represented by the always exciting James Kirkland. Now, Canelo and Kirkland are set to meet in May though the specifics are still uncertain at this point.

The fight is signed, but the date and venue are dependent upon whether or not Mayweather Jr. signs to fight Manny Pacquiao. De La Hoya has repeatedly stated that if Mayweather fights anyone other than Pacquiao on May 2nd then Canelo-Kirkland will challenge the ShowTime PPV by going head-to-head on regular HBO.

Furthermore, De La Hoya has said he is willing to compete with Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas should he pass on the Pacquiao fight. While most insiders claim that San Antonio is a lock to host Canelo-Kirkland. has gotten reports from sources with information that Golden Boy has no issue with hosting the fight at another venue in Las Vegas on May 2nd—obviously not the MGM Grand because that is where Floyd will fight—most likely the Thomas & Mack Center.

The word is Mayweather-Pacquiao is close, operating under that assumption we can expect Canelo-Kirkland in San Antonio at the Alamodome on May 9th.

While the excitement level for Canelo-Kirkland is high, the promotion took a disappointing hit after reports surfaced that Kirkland is once again estranged from his longtime trainer Ann Wolfe. I’m not completely sure how many times Kirkland and Wolfe have parted ways, and I’m not even sure what the reason is this time.

I’ve heard reports, and I’ve gotten wind of some rumors, but what I mean is I don’t care enough to decipher from the truth because it really doesn’t matter.

At this point, it’s clear that there is no reason that Kirkland continues this tumultuous path of dropping and reconnecting with the same team. There is no need to focus on the excuses we get because there is something deeper with Kirkland and his relationship with Wolfe exists on a level that is far too complicated to dissect without all the tangibles.
For these reasons, among others, I care far less about why he dumped Wolfe and much more about the implications.

It has been proven that Kirkland is much more effective with Wolfe in his corner than he is without her, and the buildup is more interesting when Wolfe gets camera time, but that’s just an added bonus.
The assumption is that Canelo will be facing a watered-down version of Kirkland on fight night.

What makes Kirkland so dangerous is his will to continue through very tough moments. Kirkland is a dangerous puncher, but the better the condition, the more dangerous he remains for a longer period in the fight. If Kirkland isn’t as conditioned as he’d be with Wolfe, then he becomes dramatically less dangerous as the fight progresses.
However, Kirkland is adamant about the new team he’s set in place, and it starts with Angel “Memo” Heredia, who is Kirkland’s acting strength and conditioning coach.

Heredia, of course, is best known in boxing for his work with Juan Manuel Marquez. However, his controversial past with doping and Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) is always going to be an identifier with the man formally known as Guillermo Heredia.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, the undeniable truth is Heredia has had an incredible impact on Marquez’s conditioning. Not to mention his strength, which is vastly superior since the two teamed up back in 2011, especially compared to Marquez’s early career. Heredia has also worked with Jorge Arce and even though it isn’t as highly profiled as his tenure with Marquez; Heredia made strides with Arce as well.

ESPN Deportes released a story on Gabriel Penagaricano and the involvement he had in making Canelo-Kirkland. Penagaricano, who represented Kirkland in the Canelo negotiations, told ESPN Deportes that his involvement came into play because of his close relationship with Memo.

Penagaricano is Miguel Cotto’s longtime advisor and it is strange to me that he was able to come to terms with Golden Boy for Canelo-Kirkland, but was unable to do the same thing for a fight between Cotto and Canelo. Well, it isn’t strange as much as it is ridiculous, but I digress.
Penagaricano says that Oscar De La Hoya was surprised when he found out Cotto’s advisor would also be representing the backup plan in Kirkland, but he insists there was no animosity.

“Yes, it obviously caused a surprise,” said Penagaricano to ESPN Deportes. “But not in a negative way. Golden Boy did not know of the great relationship between ‘Memo’ Heredia and me. He is the fitness trainer for Kirkland and the subject came up and they hired my services.”

So now Kirkland has a knowledgeable if not controversial, conditioning coach with the potential to duplicate the success he had with Wolfe, but he also has a very capable advisor in Penagaricano. Perhaps the close affiliation with someone directly tied to Miguel Cotto is enough incentive for Kirkland to train properly and the possibility of facing Cotto after defeating Canelo will drive Kirkland to be the best version of himself in camp.

Also, being able to trust that a coach is knowledgeable and effective will allow Kirkland to blindly follow Heredia. That could lead to a more confident version of Kirkland on fight night, as well.
Kirkland always fights to his best abilities on fight night, and no one can say otherwise. The problem has been those times where he is bringing a flatter version of those abilities.

So, Kirkland will always give it his best on fight night, but his best is only world-class when he did the right things long before the opening bell on fight night. Kirkland doesn’t have Ann Wolfe, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t found a new way to win with a different team behind him.