A raucous crowd at Minute Maid Park in Houston came to see Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez against the heavy-handed but James Kirkland in a junior middleweight (154 lbs) contest expected to end in a KO. They got their money's worth of entertainment and their national hero scored one of the best knockouts of 2015.
Kirkland wasted no time coming forward and pushing the action vs. Canelo, but his reputation as someone who simply doesn't care for defense cost him dearly. A short right hand dropped Kirkland with 1:15 left in the opening round and he was on wobbly legs for the remainder of the round. Try as he might to answer back, Canelo hurt him to the body and nearly had the fight stopped by the end of the opening 3 minutes.
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Canelo continued to attack in the early stages of the 2nd round, but after the first minute or so he was on the defensive with Kirkland firing away punches in bunches, trying to claw his way back into the fight. He didn't land anything damaging and the rally was short-lived as Alvarez stormed back with lethal combinations to close out the 2nd.
Alvarez salted the fight away by knocking Kirkland down with a punishing right uppercut, which spelled the beginning of the end for the American. Canelo punched once to the body and then uncorked a humongous right hand that put Kirkland flat on his back and into a world of unconsciousness. No count was necessary and the fight was waved off by referee Jon Schorle.
Official Result: Saul Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) def. James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) via 3rd round KO at 2:19
Here are the highlights from a wild fight seen by more than 30,000 in Houston.
1st knockdown (via Zombie Prophet)
Knockout blow (via HBO Sports)
Should Miguel Cotto defeat Daniel Geale in June, it's likely that Canelo vs. Cotto happens in the fall in what would be another huge PPV for boxing (although not on the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao scale, of course). For Kirkland, he got his ass kicked by one of the best in the world, but he is no doubt one of the gutsiest and most entertaining competitors in the sport.
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