Boxing


Saul Alvarez-James Kirkland Rumoured For September - Bring It On!

By James Slater: According to a number of reputable boxing web sites (I read the news on Doghouse and Bettor), a fascinating, potentially thrilling light-middleweight title fight clash could go down at The MGM in Las Vegas on September 15th - between reigning WBC champ Canelo Alvarez and top-ranked warrior James Kirkland.

This one has a most mouth-watering appeal about it, and the match-up has been spoken about as a possibility before. Unbeaten Mexican star Alvarez, fresh off his dominant points win over a still-tough, still-proud, but no longer “Sugar” Shane Mosley, seems willing to face the best each and every time out, and while Richard Schaefer, wisely, said the 21-year-old is not yet ready for superstar Floyd Mayweather Junior, a fight against a dangerous contender like Kirkland would please the fans. The idea of this fight also surely pleases both Canelo and Kirkland; what with both guys up for the challenge of such a potentially rough, reputation-improving fight.

Speaking briefly with “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland at last weekend’s Mayweather-Cotto fight, I was told by Kirkland that he would take the fight with Alvarez in a heartbeat, and Kirkland also told me he would take on any of the top names at 154; including Miguel Cotto and any of the belt-holders. Kirkland told me his shoulder (the one he injured in his ugly fight with a negative Carlos Molina) was healing up fine and that he was looking at a September return. It may well be that that return comes against Canelo.

A big enough fight to attract a big crowd and T.V audience on it’s own (maybe not Pay-Per-View, but who knows), Alvarez-Kirkland is a match-up that would almost guarantee fireworks and plenty of them. 28-year-old Kirkland is as dangerous as they come, even though he can also be vulnerable, especially early on - in fact, it is the Texan’s blend of raw power and shaky chin that makes him such ultra-compulsive viewing, and Canelo is also a fan-friendly warrior.

Alvarez (pencilled in to box a TBA on Sept. 15th by Boxrec, by the way) has steadily upped the quality of his opposition since winning the vacant WBC belt with that win over Matthew Hatton. Wins over Alfonso Gomez, Kermit Cintron and Mosley look nice on his 40-0-1(29) pro record, and a win over Kirkland would look best of all. But can Alvarez handle the bombs that will come his way from the southpaw slugger with the 31-1(27) record?

Kirkland’s southpaw stance may not overly trouble Canelo (who has faced a lefty quite recently in another Brit, in Ryan Rhodes), but his frightening punching power may well do. No-one has really tested the 21-year-old’s chin (although Miguel Cotto’s brother did manage to rock Canelo in the opening round a couple of years ago) - rest assured, Kirkland will do so. But will Kirkland, who won a WBC light-middleweight semi-final eliminator with the controversial win over Molina back in March), allow his porous defence to let him down again?

Was the 1st-round loss he suffered against Nobuhiro Ishida a fluke, or can Kirkland be hit and hurt by just about any fighter in the early rounds, before he’s sufficiently warmed up? Alvarez is almost always a slow starter, the young fighter showing great patience and maturity. Kirkland, then, may be the man to score first blood if the two do tangle. If Alvarez’ chin can withstand what comes it’s way in the earlier rounds, and if both men are still standing by the middle and late rounds, the battle could turn into one of attrition. The fight could also become a real FOTY candidate.

Whoever wins, this fight will send fans home happy. Let’s all hope it gets signed. The best fighting the best is always great. The most exciting facing the most exciting is even better!

Article posted on 12.05.2012



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