Tag Archives: Houston

Canelo Says James Kirkland Is It.

A HUGE fight for Mexican and American boxing when Saul Canelo Alvarez takes on James Mandingo Warrior Kirkland May 9th at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Tex, home of the Astros. The park has a retractable roof, so it may or may not be “outdoors” depending on the weather, but with an expected full house of over 40,000 fans, for sure it’s the kind of fresh, mega event that boxing desperately needs.

Canelo vs Mandingo Warrior

Canelo vs Mandingo Warrior

In a sad note for US boxing, it will be the non-Mexican looking Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who is the star and the fight favorite, not to mention the screaming favorite of  the predominate Mexican heritage fans in attendance. The puzzled 31 year old Kirkland will be the more powerful, aggressive fighter looking to put even more screams on young Canelo and his fans as his formidable 32-1, 28 KO record suggests. He was offered this fight back in 2013, but priced himself out with an outrageous $3 million purse demand, ultimately being bounced out of Golden Boy Promotions for his insolence. He will be making considerably less than his previous expectations, that is a certainty, but this fight is for more than just money now.

Kirkland originally started his career as a young, irresistible, knockout phenom and was quickly snatched up by Golden Boy who did a great job with his development. Unfortunately Kirkland repeatedly ran afoul of the law and served time on 2 separate occasions which greatly infringed on that development. He skipped last year, 2014, entirely, apparently upset over piddling fights and purses offered to him by his new promoter and Floyd Mayweather rival, 50 cent. Now he’ll need to knock off ring rust with his work cut out for him to win this bout since the amazingly young 24 year old Canelo is more skilled and experienced. He may also possess as much power as Kirkland, in short a bad set of counter combinations coming the defensively lax Kirkland’s way.

The fight will be held at a 155 lb contract weight that both will seriously struggle to make. Canelo looked half dried out, dead and buried, turning a scary hue of blue at his 152 lb catchweight weighin against Floyd Mayweather. He’s since been trying to hang on to the fringes of the 154 division in a series of 155 lb catchweight bouts just in case Mayweather comes calling again this year. Canelo was also willing to fight new 160 lb champ Miguel Cotto with a signed contract earlier this year, but Cotto was too busy changing up his promotional agreements with Top Rank to take that fight, so enter Kirkland as Plan B. Certainly the bulky Kirkland also needs to move up to 160, but he has always been too involved in negative outside influences to properly develop his career which has been something of a mishmash of weights. All I know is these guys are playing with the the worst kind of fire trying to make these unnatural weights as are many other fighters. Canelo will likely be over 170 come fight night, and Kirkland might be 180 or over.

Mainly this looks to finally be a great fight for the fans after Canelo consecutively took on 3 straight American stinker/spoiler styles to very little acclaim and credit. He needs an all action fight as he works his way back into a desolate boxing landscape at Golden Boy Promotions after their acrimonious divorce from Al Haymon. Haymon also took most of the GBP fighters with him in the swindle of the new boxing century that is still being played out. Oscar de la Hoya did win a private settlement against former honcho Richard Schaefer who engineered those deals, but, it’s not clear if De La Hoya can shake his substance abuse problems to resurrect what used to be an up and coming promotional juggernaut. A big Canelo win would be a much needed jumpstart to what looks to a slow year for them.

And speaking of, Mr. cent’s promotional debut was highly welcomed by boxing and fans as much needed new promotional blood, yet since has been slowly circling the drain as his biggest stars fizzled. A big Kirkland win gives both a monumental kick upstairs for bigger fights, so this opportunity is like manna raining from the heavens for them.

It’s a certainty that nobody has yet seen the best possible Kirkland, but if he does show up well trained with some new skills and wrinkles, will it be enough?

Not many know or remember that the teen aged Canelo more than held his own in many spirited sparring sessions against the best middleweight fighter today, Gennedy Golovkin. Yes, that Triple G, mi compadres, is some serious experience under the worst kind of punching pressure. Kirkland also looks impossibly strong at his best, his best fights being his last two against Mexican Carlos Molina and American Glen Tapia. The light swatting Molina put him in one hell of a fight where Kirkland injured an arm that had to undergo surgery afterwards, yet still managed to brutalize Molina with some big shots at the end that sent Molina’s manager scrambling into the ring to save his fighter. Kirkland didn’t get enough credit for the incredible heart he showed with that fight, and now his stellar knockout of Tapia  last year is long forgotten in a “what have you done lately” world of boxing.

Kirkland is also a lefty, one of the modern explosion of southpaw contenders and champs that far outweighs their prevalence in the general population. Lefties have proven tough to beat overall and few fighters like to fight them, not even lefties themselves like to fight each other. Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout are recent southpaws that Canelo beat, but they were faint hearted spoiler types that have little relevance in preparation for the bludgeoning, bluntforce aggression of Kirkland. Canelo, started his career as a 15 year old against stronger, more mature fighters, so this is nothing really new for him. All he really needs is to be in good fight shape with decent sparring as Kirkland will put him through his paces for sure.

Regardless, Canelo said the Kirkland fight is on, and so it shall be as a rare treat for the fans. Stay tuned for the rock’em, sock’em finale.

Mexican vs Filipino Déjà vu–Jorge Arce vs Nonito Donaire

Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire defends his WBO junior featherweight crown against Jorge “Travieso” Arce Saturday, December 15 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Not sure what the thinking is by having this fight in Houston other than a good deal on the venue and enough fight fans in the megapolis to raise some ruckus at the gate. Plenty of Mexicanos around the Houston area and Arce has become something of a Mexican legend as one of the most active, all action, big slugging fighters of his era, 61-6-2, 46 KO. His dizzying title record is 24-4 in 5 different weight classes as he keeps on keeping on a roll.

Now he’s queued up against a Ring P4Per and Filipino legend in the making, Nonito Donaire who is coming off a spectacular win over Japanese legend, Toshiaki Nishioka, knocking him down twice before the TKO stoppage. For purists, it started as a cautious cat and mouse game as Donaire switched to the orthodox stance to carefully pile up points on the puzzled Nishoka who cautiously avoided whatever trap Donaire was trying to set. Then they started to trade which lead to the 1st knockdown, a beautiful left hook to the body followed by a left uppercut that put the Japanese champion down. Nishioka easily beat the count and continued to pick his own big shots, but to no avail. After knocking Donaire into the ropes, he rushed in for the finish and was caught by a picture perfect short right hand, and that was that when he got up unsteady and his corner waved the white towel of surrender.

With only 31 fights and still fresh from his stylish boxer/puncher form at age 30, it stands to reason that Donaire, 30-1, 19 KO will be the big favorite over the aging Arce who has 70 really tough mano a mano fights on his odometer at 33 years of age.

What could prove troublesome is that Donaire will be only two months removed from his last fight, a dangerous scheduling move against the big punching Arce who has defied dwindling expectations before with big knockouts. Most recently he knocked highly regarded Wilfredo Vazquez Jr stupid last year for the stoppage and his 5th title whereas Donaire struggled to a split decision win over Vazquez to open this year. Donaire then endured a bruising battle against the huge Jeffrey Mathebula before the Nishioka fight, so oddly enough he may not be as fresh as Arce who has fought lower tier opposition this year, an easy year for him so far.

Of course Donaire can easily box and move Arce around to win on points, but this kid has big money dreams and wants to look spectacular, thus the inherent danger in this bout.

Perhaps even more dangerous is Donaire’s use of convicted BALCO felon, Victor Conte, who has him on some two dozen various pills and concoctions to be downed at timed intervals during the day. When Conte’s other client, Andre Berto tested positive for trace steroids, well, rats are always the first to jump sinking vessels and Conte was nowhere to be found to stick up for his client.

It would be a major shame if Donaire became tarnished because of this association, but it is what it is and such is the current state of boxing with another BALCO drug peddler, Angel Heredia AKA Angel Hernandez, training Juan Manuel Marquez who has taken some considerable stick over his newly ripped musculature. He also works with Arce, begging the questions.

Shouldn’t these new age witch doctors of alchemy be forced to register the contents of these newly created snake oils transforming this new breed of supermen? Could the trainers pass WADA/VADA/USADA drug testing? How about the honchos that run the myriad of boxing orgs and promotions, could they? The media? The fans? The testers?

The short answer is, “No.”

CANCELLED-PK fail medical>>>-The undercard is a boxing purist dream come true with Cuban Olympic Boxing legend Guillermo Rigondeaux, 11-0, 8 KO, goes against a modern Thai legend, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, 48-2, 33 KO, a classic example of when numbers can lie absent context. Rigondeaux is a two time Olympic gold medalist with some 400 amateur fights to add on to his spare 59 professional rounds boxed and 5 WBA superbanty title wins. Kratingdaenggym was matched hard from his pro start in the very competitive Thai boxing system with too many PABA and other regional title bouts to count, but also sporting a 4-1 record of the belt that Rigondeaux currently owns to go with his 339 pro rounds.

CANCELLED-PK fail medical>>>-Two more contrasting systems in the boxing world cannot be found, and now they’ll be clashing. Smart money is on Rigondeaux who will be the money fighter in his newly adopted homeland, so it’s up to Kratingdaenggym to take the fight to him and either show substantial class over him and still risk losing the decision, or knock him cold, the closest thing to a guaranteed win in sports which makes boxing in a class unto itself.

Santa really did come early to December in the boxing world with too many good and great matchups to count, not the least of which was the Pacquiao/Marquez shocker that knocked the known universe into a wobble on it’s axis. Now we reprise another classic Mexican vs Filipino matchup, a great way for boxing to close out the year for a change, so cheers to that and bottoms up, it’s déjà all over again!