Canelo and Kirkland Top Marathon Card in Houston

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Updated: April 30, 2015
Canelo Kirkland

On Saturday, May 9th, Golden Boy Promotions along with their Texas partners in crime Leija*Battah Promotions will be hosting a historic event at beautiful Minute Maid Park in Houston. The bill is topped by a heavily anticipated fight which fans have demanded for almost two years. The most popular red-haired fighter in the world, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KO’s), the former WBA and WBC super welterweight champion of the world will be taking on Austin’s knock-out artist James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-1, 28 KO’s) in a 12-round super welterweight bout. HBO will be televising the fight along with the co-main event of the evening on its “World Championship Boxing” franchise.

Fight fans attending the event will be treated to a marathon of pugilistic action which compares to Roman era gladiatorial events in proportions. As is quickly becoming the norm when Oscar De La Hoya, Robert Diaz, Jesse James Leija, and Mike Battah strike up the band, fights of equal and competitive nature are being showcased. In addition to that the card itself has 15 other bouts lined up which surely will satisfy any sadist in the crowd.

Alvarez will be returning to the ring for the first time this year and since putting up a subpar performance against Cuban Erislandy Lara (20-2-2, 12 KO’s) last summer when he was awarded a polemic split decision victory. Earlier in the year Alvarez dismantled the once feared Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo in Las Vegas in a one sided beat down. Alvarez’s single loss happened in late 2013 against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather which came after another controversial victory for Alvarez over Austin Trout.

On Kirkland’s behalf this will be his first bout in almost a year and a half. The last time he was seen in the ring he was seen in a “Fight of the Year”candidate going to toe-to-toe with Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (23-1, 15 KO’s) in December of 2013. Kirkland, a controversial figure in the sport due to issues with the law, seems to have refocused himself alongside his new trainers Rick Morrones and Bremond “Bay Bay” McClinton. The Austin fighter has relocated his camp to San Antonio in a break from renowned trainer Ann Wolfe, who is known for her extreme training methods.

Despite many people questioning the decision to have Kirkland face “Canelo” in his first fight back from such a long layoff the fight holds a lot of interest among fans due to the fact that both fighters have fighting styles which will fit together like connecting puzzle pieces. Conventional wisdom tells us that Alvarez’s technique and power and the style that he fights with will carry the day over Kirkland, a fighter who marches forward and looks to hurt his opponents with every shot he unleashes. The intrigue in this fight is the fact that Alvarez is also willing to exchange with his opponents, something which will heavily benefit Kirkland.

When one takes a look at the opponents Alvarez has faced it is easy to see that Kirkland will be the heaviest puncher he has faced. Angulo, a power puncher which many hoped would test Alvarez’s chin showed up almost dead to the fight and never really got any offensive rhythm going against Alvarez. Ndou, Cintron, and Mosley were all fighters he faced well past their prime. And people who still question the Jalisco, Mexico fighter’s chin will never forget the time when undersized Jose Miguel Cotto, Miguel Cotto’s older brother, rattled and hurt “Canelo” in a welterweight bout back in 2010.

Styles make fights. And in this bout where one has a boxer-puncher in Alvarez who is willing to engage in a fire-fight to thrill his audiences, against a brawler and knockout specialist in Kirkland who has the ability to detach the senses from the body, we have one hell of an interesting fight which could go any number of ways in the opening rounds. It is safe to say that “Canelo” will look to take Kirkland into the deeper waters and look to put him away.

But then again it was Larry Merchant who said, “That’s why we fight the fights.”

In the evenings co-main event East LA fighter Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez (18-0, 13 KO’s) is looking to cross that bridge from undefeated prospect to title contender as he will take on former world lightweight champion Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto (65-8-2, 35 KO’s).

Gomez, who is looking to get his career back on the fast-track after only fighting twice a year the last three years will be taking on his biggest test to date. Coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Vernon Paris last summer, Gomez was once seen as a top prospect and a future world champion. He will look to get his young career back on that path.

Soto, the current NABO super lightweight titleholder defeated John “The Gladiator” Molina (27-6) last September by unanimous decision to remain a title contender at 140 pounds. Soto has accumulated seven wins in a row since his last defeat at the hands of Lucas “La Machina” Matthysse and in the process also picked up the WBC International silver super lightweight title. Prior to that Soto’s last defeat came in 2008 to Francisco Lorenzo, a loss which he avenged later on in that year. In addition Soto has notable wins over Rocky Juarez, Gamaliel Diaz, Jesus Chavez, David Diaz, Fidel Monterrosa, and Urbano Antillon.

In addition to that, former world champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (38-4, 22 KO’s) will be going up against the always exciting Jorge “Pantera” Silva (20-8-2, 16 KO’s) in a 10-round super welterweight bout. Clottey, who has previously mixed it up with Antonio Margarito, Diego Corrales, Zab Judah, Miguel Cotto, and Manny Pacquiao, will look to make it four wins in a row against Silva who is best known for giving Alfredo Angulo and Yoshihiro Kamegai all they could handle.

Showing that men are not the only ones that can fight WBC female super flyweight champion Zulina Muñoz (44-1-2, 27 KO’s) is scheduled to fight on the card. “La Loba” has held her crown since late in 2012 and has successfully defended it six times. Her opponent has yet to be announced.

Undefeated prospects Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, KeAndre Gibson, Ryan Martin, Joseph Rodriguez, Crescencio Ramos, and Antonio Capulin are also scheduled to fight in respective bouts.

Tickets range from $10 to $350 plus applicable fees and service charges. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 210.979.3302. Gates open at 11 AM. HBO will televise the main and co-main events.

Javier Cantu may be reached at javier.cantu.1984@gmail.com

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