Canelo Alvarez vs James Kirkland: Results, video, key takeaways from 'WAR' in HoustonWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Canelo vs Kirkland... It was short, but everything fans were hoping for, and possibly more.
Last night at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, former super welterweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) scored a jaw-dropping third round knockout over James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) in an all-out, action-packed brawl.
It was a star-making performance and a bout fans won't soon forget.
Put simply, every fighter dreams of winning a bout like Canelo vs Kirkland.
The blood n' guts warrior fans have grown to love over the years, Kirkland didn't disappoint and immediately swarmed his foe at the opening bell. Drama set in early and the action would ensue until the knockout two rounds later.
Kirkland seemed intent on ending the fight in the opening round as he cornered Canelo on the ropes, forced the Mexican into a defensive posture, and unleashed bombs with bad intentions. But Alvarez would rally back to badly hurt James and send him to the canvas moments later.
Very few fighters would have survived the round but James, after eating hard leather from flush Canelo shots, would somehow, someway weather the torid storm. And remarkably, the aggressive Kirkland, recouperative powers in full effect, would seize the initiative in Round 2. Now, he had Canelo backpedaling as the two men continued to exchange heavy fire.
In the third and final round, however, Alvarez's accuracy and superior skills proved too much as the Mexican cunningly got into position to set-up and unleash some wicked forays that sent Kirkland to the canvas twice.
After the second, and very violent knockdown in that round, there's was no reason to count as the referee immediately halted the action.
Kirkland remained on the canvas for a minute or two but arose and appeared lucid during the post-fight interview.
After the bout, Alvarez expressed an interest in fighting Gennady Golovkin or Miguel Cotto next.
Parting of ways: Kirkland was without longtime trainer Ann Wolfe for this bout.
Canelo vs Kirkland CompuBox Statistics:
Saul Alvarez, landed 87 of 150 punches, 58%, landed 79 of 132 power punches, 60%
James Kirkland, landed 42 of 197 punches, 21%, landed 41 of 177 power punches, 23%
Star-making performance: This bout may have crowned boxing's next big star; It was that memorable and well-crafted
Varied attack: Showing wisdom beyond his years, Canelo mixed his punches well, going to body before the head, and throwing right uppercuts under the Kirkland left jabs.
Wicked body shots: Canelo also badly hurt James several times with thudding body shots. One shot was so hard, Kirkland turned his back to Canelo in momentary retreat.
Kirkland brought it: James gave 110 percent and created some tough, uncomfortable moments for Alvarez. His stock as an exciting, hard-punching crowd-pleaser is very much intact.
Modern-day Gatti? Showing true grit and a monster chin, Kirkland, like Arturo Gatti in years past, simply refused to surrender and fought back hard when hurt. How he survived some of those wicked Canelo assaults will remain a mystery.
Accuracy: Alvarez's accuracy is a thing of beauty. His punches were more crisp and precise than those from Kirkland who was a little wild at times.
Composure: Alvarez remained composed; Even while absorbing heavy shots tonight from a KO artist and with his back to the ropes, he didn't appear frustrated, emotional or desperate
Miguel Cotto: After tonight, will Roach and Cotto pass on Canelo?
Canelo's stock: Last night's performance, on HBO and in front of 40,000 plus in Houston, certainly raises Alvarez's stock and should give him added leverage in the presumably upcoming Cotto vs Canelo negotiations. Perhaps a 50-50 split is in the offing?
Canelo vs Kirkland undercard results:
Former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) cruised to a ten round unanimous decision over Jorge Silva (20-9-2, 16 KOs) in a jr middleweight clash.
2012 Olympian featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (16-0, 10 KOs) won an easy lopsided ten round unanimous decision over Giovanni Delgado (15-3, 9 KOs).
7-foot Chinese heavyweight monster Taishan Dong (4-0, 2 KOs), in a bit of a struggle, earned a four round majority decision over a surprisingly tough Jamal Woods (6-19-3, 6 KOs).