In front of more than 31,000 raucous fans Minute Maid Park in Houston, super welterweight sensation Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) knocked out Texas’ James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) with a thunderous right hand in the middle of the third-round, capping a sensational performance that saw the 24-year-old drop Kirkland in the first and deliver a number of huge shots before the eventual end of the fight. The fight was broadcast live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.
“This was one of the best knockouts of my career,” Canelo Alvarez said following the fight. “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.” Alvarez connected on an astounding 60 percent of his power shots, landing 79 of them inside of three rounds.
“I didn’t know I was knocked out,” said James 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.”
“Canelo vs. Kirkland on May 9 was the real Cinco de Mayo weekend fight that fans wanted,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions. “We promised them a war, we promised them action, and that is exactly what they got with this fight.”
“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, said of Kirkland after the fight.
“I am very happy about the fight, it was intense from round one. We want to thank Kirkland for taking this fight and for giving the fans an exciting night,” said Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, manager and trainer for Canelo Alvarez. “This fight showed the result of 17 intense weeks of training and we are very satisfied with the result.”
“I’m happy we won the fight,” said Eddy Reynoso, head trainer for Canelo Alvarez. “This is the result of a successful camp. Kirkland did surprise us in the beginning, but Canelo was able to find him and adjust to his rhythm and overpower him. I want to thank the team that made this fight happen and all the fans that continue to support us.”
With official attendance of 31,588, Minute Maid Park was rocking from the opening bell, and Alvarez delivered for them not only with a huge knockout, but with a pledge to fight in Texas once a year.
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