UPDATE: Canelo Alvarez stops James Kirkland with picture-perfect KO at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. We have your results and highlights here.
Odds of Winning
Mexican Canelo Alvarez enters the fight a favorite in Vegas and in online sportsbooks (see odds below). But don’t let the numbers fool you. Despite Canelo’s prodigious record and talent, Kirkland’s power makes him the hardest hitter in boxing, and one punch from this mauler could mean buenas noches for Alvarez.
“Kirkland’s style will complement mine, he is a fighter that likes to come forward and May 9 will bring a great fight for all the fans,” Canelo said at a recent open workout.
One of boxing’s biggest stars, former WBC and WBA super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) brings high-action drama and thrills to every encounter. With devastating power, blazing hand speed, and a willingness to engage, Canelo has become one of today’s most exciting fighters. Canelo has a proven track record with victories over top-tier opposition such as Carlos Baldomir, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, and Austin Trout.
Coming off a 10-month layoff due to a foot injury, 24-year-old Canelo was last in action outpointing Erislandy Lara in July of 2014. Going into the Lara fight, the Guadalajaran had stopped Alfredo Angulo after suffering his only career-loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.
“We have the right strategy to beat James Kirkland,” Canelo said. “I have been sparring with southpaws to be prepared. Kirkland is a strong puncher, but I am also a strong fighter. On fight night I plan to hit hard but I also plan to fight an intelligent fight.”
Watch out Canelo ply his trade:
James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) is a strong, come-forward slugger with fight-ending power in both hands. A veteran bruiser, with over 13 years experience, the 30-year-old boasts wins over Brian Vera, Alfredo Angulo, and Carlos Molina.
Almost two years since his last ring appearance (due to injuries and prison time), Kirkland comes to Saturday’s fracas having handed Glen Tapia his first career-defeat with a sixth-round TKO in July 2013. Kirkland has won his last five fights since suffering his only professional loss, to Nobuhiro Ishida in 2011.
“I am a force of nature that overrides a lot of the people that I fight,” Kirkland said in recent media conference call. “When they come with heart, I believe my heart is bigger than that. When they come with determination, I don’t feel no one has the will power and the drive that I possess.”
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
bet365: Saul Alvarez -600 James Kirkland +400
Boyle: Saul Alvarez -500 James Kirkland +350
Stan James: Saul Alvarez -650 James Kirkland +350
Matchbook: Saul Alvarez -700 James Kirkland +500
Despite fans’ expectations of a stoppage, I believe Canelo knows better than to indulge in any risky, long-term shootouts with a slugger like Kirkland. While I expect fans will get plenty of good-quality brawling from these two grinders, I predict that the redhead from Guadalajara will box, and definitely punch, his way to a unanimous decision.
Guy’s pick: Saul Alvarez by unanimous decision.