Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs James Kirkland Preview May 9th
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of Mexico returns to the ring this weekend as he takes on James Kirkland of America in a 12-round junior middleweight tilt. The contest takes place on Saturday, May 9 at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas and can be seen in the U.S. and Canada on HBO. British fans can catch the action on BoxNation. This should be a good action-packed encounter between two of the division’s hardest hitters and it’s being fought at a catch weight at 155 lbs, which is just one over the 154 lb jr. middleweight limit..
The 24-year-old Alvarez has an excellent record of 44-1-1 along with 31 Kos while the 31-year-old Kirkland also carries an impressive mark of 32-1 and has 28 Kos to his name. Alvarez’s only loss was a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather back in September of 2013 while Kirkland’s lone defeat came by way of a first round stoppage at the hands of Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida back in April of 2011. He’s beaten the likes of Brian Vera, Joel Julio, Alfredo Angulo and Carlos Molina.
Both of these boxers are 5-feet-9-inches tall and their reaches are also virtually the same at about 70 inches. The main difference between the two is that Kirkland of Austin, Texas is a southpaw. Even though he’s just 24 years old, Alvarez has a wealth of experience since turning pro when he was just 15 with 311 rounds under his belt while Kirkland turned pro in 2001 and has fought 110 rounds. Alvarez has taken on some tough opponents over the years such as Mayweather, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, Kermit Cintron, Carlos Baldomir, and Alfredo Angulo.
At one point Kirkland was viewed as a rising star in the sport, but he hasn’t fought much lately due to a variety of reasons such as injuries, promotional disputes and t legal problems. As you can see by his record he carries a lot of power in his fists and would rather stop his opponent than leave his fights in the hands of the judges. However, Alvarez has a granite chin and perhaps just as much dynamite in his fists. This has the potential to be the fight of the year if they both decide to go for broke and throw caution to the wind.
Kirkland hasn’t fought since 2013 so could be quite rusty and may get caught cold early on, just as he was against Ishida. His last contest was a TKO victory back in December of 2013 when he handed Glen Tapia his first pro defeat. A win here for Kirkland will propel him into some big-money fights, so he should be in top condition and quite motivated. Alvarez might be able to get by with a loss without losing any of his popularity, but that’s definitely not something he’d accept. He’s a god boxer-puncher who likes to go to the body, but has a bit of difficulty with boxers who move, such as Mayweather.
Kirkland is definitely the hardest puncher Alvarez has faced so far and he might want to use his jab and other boxing skills rather than slug it out with the American. Kirkland has been down before and has the weaker chin, but he’s arguably got more power than his Mexican opponent. Kirkland needs to set a fast pace and bully his way inside to be successful. This is an excellent matchup that could either be over in the blink of an eye or go the distance. Alvarez should have the advantage the longer it goes and take a decision of stoppage in the second half of the fight.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the latest odds on all of the big fights. The odds of an Alvarez victory are listed at -700 while a Kirkland win is listed at +500. Visit 5Dimes.eu to see up to date odds and to bet on this fight. You should also check out our recent boxing betting predictions to see how we’ve done.