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Kirkland with great shot at beating Canelo, says Robert Garcia

Canelo Alvarez James KirklandBy Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions has obviously picked out slugger James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) for their franchise fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) to fight on May 2nd in hopes that Kirkland will be another version of Alfredo Angulo for Canelo to look good against when they face each other on HBO from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kirkland, who isn’t fast, is a plodder like Angulo with good power, but he’s very easy to hit and he’s had chin problems in the past. The idea is for Canelo to meet him in center ring and use his superior hand speed to give Kirkland a beat down to make him look good again, which he hasn’t looked since the Angulo fight.

Canelo appeared to lose his last fight against Erislandy Lara last July but was given a controversial decision like the one he got against Austin Trout in April 2013. Canelo doesn’t want to give Lara a rematch, and neither does Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya. They were happy to escape with any kind of win over Lara, even a tainted one.

“If he [Kirkland] gets in good shape, he has a good shot [at beating Canelo],” Garcia said via “Canelo is still questionable. He beat Alfredo Angulo, but many people think he lost to [Erislandy] Lara. He didn’t do much to Mayweather. Mayweather made it an easy fight, so there’s still questions there for Canelo. Kirkland’s already been there. He’s beaten some great fighters and he’s lost to some great fighters. So he’s got nothing to lose. He’s got a great shot.”

If Kirkland can handle Canelo’s power and keep him in one place so that he can get his shots off, he definitely has a chance to win this fight. Robert Garcia is definitely right in giving Kirkland a chance at winning this fight. But for Kirkland to win, he’s going to need to pressure Canelo and force him into the ropes and keep him there.

Canelo willingly went to the ropes in his fight against Trout and he stayed there for the last half of the fight after getting hurt by a body shot from Trout. I think Kirkland can win if he stays on top of Canelo the same way Artur Beterbiev tends to stay on top of his opposition by not giving them any room to move.

If Canelo is forced to fight Kirkland in a phone booth all night, we could definitely see Kirkland chop down Golden Boy’s golden goose on May 2nd – or whenever they face each other – and ruin his chances of becoming the replacement star for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Dela Hoya thinks Canelo will replace those two fighters as the next big PPV star after they retire. Well, if Kirkland knocks Canelo out, he’s going to make it all but impossible for Canelo to take over for Mayweather and Pacquiao. Even if Golden Boy goes completely soft with Canelo in terms of matching him against nothing but patsies after he loses to Kirkland, boxing fans won’t forget the loss and Canelo’s questionable win over Lara.

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