It's been expected to be announced for a few days now, but according to ESPN's Dan Rafael, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is set to take on James Kirkland on Sept. 15 for the WBC Junior Middleweight title.
Alvarez was all set to face Paul Williams on the same date, but Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident that will likely render him unable to walk. Hopefully Williams will beat the odds and recover and our thoughts are certainly with him.
With Williams out, Kirkland is getting the opportunity of a lifetime against Canelo, not to mention the big time payday that goes along with it. Kirkland has been waiting a long time now for a title shot, and despite his lackluster effort in his last fight, in which he looked pretty bad (although he did injure his shoulder), Kirkland deserves a shot in my mind.
He's a crowd pleasing fighter and always come in looking to be in top shape. Kirkland also knocked out the previously undefeated Alfredo Angulo in a fantastic fight. Angulo is a world class fighter so for Kirkland to KO him speaks volumes.
While I favor Canelo in this matchup, due to his superior boxing ability, balance, and technique, which he showed against Shane Mosley on May 5, Kirkland is a live underdog. He can punch, and if Canelo gets into a brawl with Kirkland, it's a true 50/50 fight. Canelo has shown in the past that he isn't afraid to slug it out, and if he's smart he won't in this fight.
However, Canelo may give in to the temptation to go toe to toe with the "Mandingo Warrior", and if he does it will definitely produce fireworks come Sept. 15. It could be the best fight of the year, and you can probably safely assume that it won't go the distance. Both guys are terrific punchers.
Regardless of the outcome, this should be a good fight for the fans, as I can't see any way it can go but entertaining. Hopefully it will be accompanied by a solid PPV undercard as well.
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