Speaking over horns, wails and every other indicator of excitement deep in the heart of Texas, Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez wants it known that his HBO-televised fight Saturday against power-puncher James Kirkland will be the real Cinco de Mayo-themed slugfest that boxing fans want.
“It motivates me that all these fans have come out and I want to do the best I can for my fans,” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 knockouts) said in a conversation translated by his matchmaker Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions.
“The fans are responding greater with every event we have here, from [Tuesday’s] fight fair to the [Wednesday] workout … more fans are showing up. When the fight comes … this is the real Cinco de Mayo weekend fight.”
Texas’ Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) ended his successful union with trainer Ann Wolfe for this fight, using a lesser-known committee in his corner. And he hasn’t fought since Dec. 7, 2013, when he produced a convincing sixth-round technical knockout of Glen Tapia.
Gomez said the best way to prepare for Kirkland is to expect he’s prepared to unleash a night of heavy-handed blows.
“The styles of both make for an explosive, great fight,” Gomez said. “Kirkland is very dangerous. Saul can’t make the same mistake [Alfredo] Angulo did [in 2011]. If you remember, Kirkland was down when he fought Angulo. A lot of experts said it would be an easy fight, but Kirkland came out and he was very dangerous. Saul is going to face the best Kirkland and you can’t underestimate that Kirkland.”
Alvarez suffered an ankle injury last year and withdrew from a scheduled Dec. 6 fight against Joshua Clottey that was poorly received in the first place.
“You’re going to see a more explosive Saul,” Alvarez said. “I had 16 weeks to prepare for this fight. I’m faster, stronger and I have more experience.
“Kirkland is very strong and dangerous, a big puncher and I’ve trained so hard I’m prepared to go the distance if I need to. Every fight for me now is dangerous and tough. That’s how I’ve prepared.”
The HBO broadcast, which will include a replay of Mayweather's unanimous-decision victory over Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, begins at 6 p.m. Pacific on Saturday with an undercard bout between East Los Angeles' Frankie Gomez versus former world-champion fighter Humberto Soto of Mexico.
Should he beat Kirkland, Alvarez said his pecking order for his next possible fight is Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin in that order.
“Any of the big names, we’ll go after any of them,” Gomez said. “We’ll reach out to everybody. It has to be the right deal.”