SAN DIEGO, May 9, 2015 – Saturday’s super welterweight bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and James Kirkland lasted a bit more than eight minutes. None of the 30,000 plus fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston felt one bit cheated. Neither did the home audience watching on HBO, who took to social media giddy over the results.
What a contrast to last Saturday’s boxing event. You might vaguely remember it.
The spectacular third-round knockout of Kirkland by Alvarez was exactly what boxing needed. It came like a bolt of lightning, electrifying fans who couldn’t stop talking about it on social media well after the fight ended.
See the knockout and a recap of the bout here in this video from HBO Boxing.
Boxing observers including this column predicted the fight would be a barnburner ending in a knockout. Sometimes you don’t know how right you are. From the opening bell, Kirkland went right at Canelo, but the 24-year-old blasted him with a smart variety of power shots. Kirkland went down hard in the first round, and it seemed Canelo might finish him off there and then.
It is a tribute to Kirkland’s toughness and sheer will that he lasted two more rounds. Canelo put the power shots on pause briefly in the second round to gather himself, then came on strong again in the third. He dropped Kirkland early, then finished him off in spectacular fashion. Alvarez threw a left jab and timed the follow-up straight right perfectly, hitting Kirkland so hard he spun around before dropping to the canvas. The referee didn’t even administer a count. “Fighting a man like Kirkland, a man who comes to fight, is the kind of fight I love,” said Alvarez after the bout.
Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) thoroughly dominated Kirkland. It was shocking. He connected on 87 of 150 total punches (58 percent) to Kirkland’s 42 of 197 punches (21 percent). Seventy-nine of those were power punches, 19 to the body, for a stunning 60 percent connect rate. Alvarez connected on 80 percent in the two plus minutes of the third round alone.
After the fight, Alvarez told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “I am ready for any rival. I don’t run away from anyone. I’m ready for anyone.” Even Triple G? “Yes, of course, Why not, he’s a great champion, he’s a warrior, that’s the type of fighter I want to fight in the future.”
Alvarez has been a star in Mexico for some time and the heir apparent in a boxing crazy country. His stock went way, way up with this victory. We may look back at this moment in boxing history as the passing of the torch from the stars of the previous generation (Mayweather and Pacquiao) to the stars of the new generation including Alvarez along with Gennady Golovkin, Terence Crawford, Sergey Kovalev and Deontay Wilder.
Let’s remind ourselves: Alvarez just turned 24 years old. He says it’s an honor to fight for his country and his countrymen.
Elated fans renewed their enthusiasm after last week’s letdown. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions confirmed in the post-fight news conference Alvarez will fight next in September or October. The possibilities have fight freaks drooling. De La Hoya said he will be at Miguel Cotto’s fight on June 6 against Australian Daniel Geale. There are reports Golden Boy and Roc Nation Sports, Cotto’s promoter, have already been talking. Roc Nation Sports reps were in Houston on Saturday night. Assuming Puerto Rican champion Cotto takes care of Geale (and he should), anyone for a Mexican Independence Day showdown? Si!
Once that fight is made, the chess pieces move into place for the winner to take on the most feared fighter in boxing, middleweight Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. Golovkin fights next Saturday in Los Angeles against Willie Monroe Jr. You can bet on talk about a Canelo vs. GGG “Mexican Style” showdown sometime in 2016.
When there is a winner, there is a loser. Despite his problems outside the ring, Kirkland is well-liked and respected and the fight doesn’t happen without him. Kirkland (32-2-1, 28 KOs) came into the ring without unconventional trainer Ann Wolfe. Kirkland is undefeated with Wolfe; he has two knockout losses without her. Wolfe watched ringside. She was emotional about Kirkland’s loss, saying there was no “I told you so” about it.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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