Even though Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.’s megafight with Manny Pacquiao last week did not help boxing with its lack of action, the sport has much more to offer after what some say was a disappointing match between the two legends. We won’t get to see a rematch either, after Floyd ruled it out yesterday.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and James Kirkland will have the chance to prove that Mayweather and Pacquiao aren’t the only ones that can bring the ratings.
The two fan favorites both return from lengthy ring absences for a 154-pound meeting Saturday night at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, where 40,000 fans will be waiting. That number is just for the stadium, an HBO audience will also watch the Mexican champion and his Texan challenger.”The fans want to go see action, and these are the kind of fights where the people will leave happy,” Alvarez said through a translator.
The 24-year-old Alvarez, who has only lost once in his career, is already among the biggest stars in boxing for his skills and fearless style. He’ll be returning from a 10 month absence against another great boxer. The matchup has the potential to be a great one, and both want to put up a great show for the fans that are not very happy about last week’s result. “This is one of the opportunities I’ve been wanting,” Kirkland said. “This is a fight that I know the fans want to see, a fight that I’m truly prepared for.”
Injuries and Absences
Canelo is coming off a decision win against Erislandy Lara back in July of last year. The young boxer has been recovering from an ankle injury and is currently training in San Diego. He will face Kirkland, whose legal troubles and training upheaval have slowed down his once-promising career.
Like Canelo, Kirkland has only lost once in his career, but hasn’t fought since December 2013 and has just two fights in the three and a half years before that. Kirkland has made some changes since his last fight and hired a new trainer. He was a dominant boxer under Wolfe but split with her before his only career defeat against Nobuhiro Ishida in 2011. They reunited again for five more fights, all of which he won, but now he’ll have a different team.
The talented boxer will be in Houston with a little-known team in his corner, but that won’t probably stop him from bringing excitement to the match with his power punches.
“Canelo brings a lot to the game, got a great team backing him, and pretty much knows the sport,” Kirkland said. “But there’s a little something that goes deeper than that that I believe I possess. So at the end of the day I’m … going to let the hands do the talking.”
If Alvarez wins, people say he will challenge Miguel Cotto in a pay-per-view fight that could be the biggest event of the fall. Canelo has not said anything about the future because he is focused on beating Kirkland. “A lot of people are counting on Canelo to carry boxing on his shoulders for many years to come,” said his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya.
Cancelled Bout and Other Matches
In addition to, the Houston crowd was waiting to see a junior welterweight matchup between Frankie Gomez and Humberto Soto, but Gomez weighed in six pounds over the 141-pound limit Friday. The promoter had no choice but to cancel it.
The fight was a big opportunity for Gomez, who was set to take the ring immediately after HBO replayed the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on its broadcast. The card still features featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz Jr. and 7-foot Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong.
Will the Canelo-Kirkland fight bring the action that fans wanted to see last week?