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Canelo vs. Kirkland boxing preview, prediction, TV schedule, live fight online coverage May 9

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Get a preview and full fight coverage here for Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland fight live from Minute Maid Park in Houston. HBO Boxing Canelo vs. Kirkland airs live this Saturday, May 9.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night marks a big night of boxing in the state of Texas. While Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are the top two draws in the sport, running third is unquestionably Mexico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Canelo will be facing off against Texas native James Kirkland in the main event of HBO's World Championship Boxing, which airs live at 9 PM ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from Minute Maid Park in Houston. It is expected that at least 30,000-35,000 fans will fill the baseball stadium. Bloody Elbow will have live fight coverage, including weigh-ins and a discussion post, right here.

Canelo's stock has risen over the years through his looks, his style, and his big wins over the likes of Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez, and Carlos Baldomir. The 24-year-old succeeds with his lethal left hook, heavy body shots, and tremendous ring generalship. Don't let losing to Floyd Mayweather in 2013 get you down on him, because he's still one of the elites in the game at such a young age. Following the loss to Floyd, Canelo headlined his own PPV and he finished Alfredo Angulo in round 11. The follow-up was another PPV against Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara, who frustrated Alvarez but ultimately Canelo earned a somewhat controversial split decision. It is expected that a win for Alvarez on Saturday coupled with Miguel Cotto beating Daniel Geale in June should set up a major Canelo-Cotto showdown at the end of the year, presumably on another PPV. This would entail Cotto returning to junior middleweight in all likelihood, as opposed to his current status as a middleweight.

Kirkland is reckless almost to a fault and is completely willing to get into slugfests, as he did against Allen Conyers and Alfredo Angulo. He was dropped early in both fights but battled back to stop Conyers in the 1st round while finishing Angulo in the 6th in what was one of 2011's best fights. Make no mistake about it though, his aggression and punching power is what made him one of the biggest burgeoning stars in boxing in the mid-to-late 2000s, but a stint in prison on a weapons charge cost him two years of inactivity. After two tune-up wins, a shocking 1st round KO loss to featherfisted Nobuhiro Ishida seemingly put his career in tatters. Further disputes with his managers halted his momentum after the Angulo bout. Kirkland's last appearance was a TKO over Glen Tapia in December 2013 under the management of famed rapper 50 Cent. His troubles with the law and other issues outside the ring have led fans to ponder "What if?" for such an incredibly talented fighter, and with the biggest fight of his career in front of him, a lot of questions regarding his potential -- yes, even at 31 years old -- will soon be answered.

All things considered, Kirkland has a chance, albeit a small one. He has no chance of outboxing Canelo but if he can make him uncomfortable and goaded into wild exchanges, his power can fell even the best at junior middleweight. This essentially means Kirkland only has but the few early rounds to win this, and if he can't put Canelo away early then he'll be systematically picked apart and finished. Heck, even brawling with Canelo is a high-risk move that could end his night even earlier, but I'm siding with Alvarez to finish Kirkland in the later rounds.

Prediction: Canelo Alvarez by TKO, round 8

Bovada Odds: Kirkland +500 and Canelo -800

In the co-main event is Mexican-American Frankie Gomez, back after 9 months of inactivity, facing three-division world champion (featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight) Humberto Soto. This is a true example of a prospect against a true veteran of the sport, so it's a good measuring stick to see where the East LA fighter is at this stage in his career.

Programming note - While the HBO broadcast starts at 9 PM ET they will be replaying Mayweather vs. Pacquiao before the two live fights commence.

Join us here at Bloody Elbow for Canelo vs. Kirkland results, discussion, and live fight coverage this Saturday, May 9.

CANELO VS. KIRKLAND FIGHT CARD:

Saul Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) vs. James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) - Junior Middleweight (154 lbs)

Frankie Gomez (18-0; 13 KO) vs. Humberto Soto (65-8-2, 53 KOs) - Junior Welterweight (140 lbs)