James Kirkland (32-1) made a huge statement in his return to the ring this past Saturday by stopping the previously undefeated Glen Tapia in a 6 round war. While Tapia held his own in the first couple of rounds, it was all Kirkland after that. Amazingly Kirkland landed 50% of his power punches and landed 305 out of 644 total punches thrown. Those are crazy numbers considering he threw and landed more punches than Paulie Malignaggi or Zab Judah did in their 12 round main event this weekend. Let’s keep in mind Kirkland-Tapia only went 6 rounds. Who can keep up with that kind of pace? I don’t know the answer but it’s a short list. What a lot of fans and I want to know is, can Canelo Alvarez keep up with that pace?
While Canelo Alvarez stands atop the junior middleweight division there are others that are definitely more deserving of that crown. After talking to a lot of fans and boxing media it is certain that they all want to see Canelo tested. Sure, Cotto and Martinez can do decent pay per view numbers but both guys are past their primes. Which would still leave us with the question “what is Canelo really made of?” During my discussions two names kept appearing. These are two that I agree with and those names are Erislandy Lara and James Kirkland.
If there is one true statement about James Kirkland, it is that he is always the under dog. If he meets up with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez he will be the underdog once again. This time however, it won’t be as wide spread. Kirkland seems to have caught some peoples eye with his recent destruction of Tapia. Shortly after the fight Ryan Songalia, contributor for the Ring Magazine, tweeted “If I’m Canelo Alvarez, I’d get a restraining order against James Kirkland. That is definitely not the fight for him.” I would have to agree with Ryan here. Canelo has been protected this far in his career, Kirkland has been more battle tested and poses a real threat to knocking out the young pay Golden Boy star.
Most onlookers hold Kirkland’s one loss to Nobuhiro Ishida against him but they really shouldn’t. Kirkland fought Jhon Berrio less than 2 weeks prior to fighting Ishida, he was with out his trainer Anne Wolfe and that means he wasn’t the well trained Kirkland we are used to. Even during the lose you had to admire his heart. Ishida sent him to the canvas 3 times and each time Kirkland rose to his feet. Referee Joe Cortez had to sit on Kirkland to get him to stay down. So Yes, he lost to a feather fisted opponent but other than that he has left destruction in his wake, the same cannot be said for Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez has been dubbed as this big puncher that he really isn’t but with Kirkland we all know he has dynamite in each hand.
Canelo and Kirkland were all but set to meet up back in Dec of 2012 for the first “Knockout Kings” card but Kirkland pulled out due to a shoulder injury. They still tried to make the fight knowing that Kirkland wasn’t at full health. Kirkland was willing to fight anyway but wanted a bigger paycheck if he was going to fight Canelo with one arm, so team Canelo went in another direction. The bottom line is fans want to see what he is truly made of and don’t want to see him fight another blown up junior middleweight. According to rumor and boxrec.com Canelo is schedule to face off against Alfredo Angulo in March, might it be a warm up for Kirkland? Only time will tell.