Canelo Alvarez earns spectacular knockout victory over James Kirkland

May 10, 2015

In front of 31,588 raucous fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston, super welterweight Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) scored multiple knockdowns over a game James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) before knocking out the determined brawler with a thunderous right hand in the third round.

"This was one of the best knockouts of my career," said the 24-year-old Alvarez. "He came out with a little bit of a different style than I was expecting, but I was able to adjust and get the knockout. I knew he was strong fighter but he surprised me with his aggressiveness in the first and second round. I fight for the fans, and I'll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime."

The ultra-aggressive Kirkland set the tone immediately in the first round, landing some solid power shots in the opening seconds and forcing Alvarez to cover up on the ropes.  Once on the ropes however, Alvarez's superior skill took over, as he eventually dropped Kirkland after landing multiple straight shots and clean combinations.

Kirkland rebounded with a competitive Round Two, but would later be caught and eventually stopped in Round Three.

Kirkland's overly-aggressive offensive approach left his chin exposed throughout the bout, as Canelo seemingly could not miss, connecting on an astounding 60 percent of his power shots.  He landed 79 power shots in less than three rounds of work.  Evidently, those power punches had quite an effect on Kirkland.

"I didn't know I was knocked out," said Kirkland. "I had him trapped and hurt in the corner in the first round, but he escaped. I had him hurt in the second also. He's a great champion, I'm proud that I was able to compete in such a terrific event, and I hope to fight him again someday. I'm a warrior, I'll be back."

Kirkland had entered the fight after a lengthy layoff, and had declined to use Ann Wolfe as his trainer. With Wolfe, Kirkland had always been in tremendous condition, and had never lost a fight.  Still, he decided to employ a relatively unknown trainer instead.

"I'm proud of him, he's a true warrior and I'm going to get him back with Ann Wolfe," said Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Founder and Chairman of SMS Promotions.

One week after the massive letdown of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Alvarez's victory breathed some much-needed excitement into the sport.

"Canelo vs. Kirkland on May 9 was the real Cinco de Mayo weekend fight that fans wanted," said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "We promised them a war, we promised them action, and that is exactly what they got with this fight."

On the undercard, 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz, Jr. (16-0, 10 KOs) won via a 10-round unanimous decision over Giovanni Delgado (15-3, 9 KOs).

"I feel great that I was able to go the distance and show more of my skills instead of just another knockout," said Diaz. "Delgado was very tough and durable but my skills were better. I'm thrilled to fight here on such a big stage and look forward to getting back in the ring soon."

Heavyweight 7-foot-tall Chinese sensation Taishan (4-0, 2 KOs) stayed undefeated in a four-round slugfest, outpointing Jamal Woods (6-19, 6 KOs), and winning by majority decision.

"I feel really thrilled to be representing the millions of people in China today especially on one of the most attended cards of the year," Taishan said. "I feel like my opponent had more experience than I do but that doesn't mean he was more skillful. Today, my strength, reach and powerful jab was what got me the win."

Veteran Joshua Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) outlasted Jorge Silva (20-9-2, 16 KOs) in a 10-round match-up of Super Welterweights. Clottey, a former world title holder dominated the action from the get-go, shutting out Silva on two judges' cards en route to a unanimous decision.

By Staff of and news services

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