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Kirkland has a puncher’s chance against Canelo, says Berto

Canelo Alvarez James Kirkland(Photo Credit: HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions) By Dan Ambrose: WBA interim welterweight champion Andre Berto is giving slugger James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) a puncher’s chance of beating former WBA/WBC 154lb champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) in their fight in two months from now on May 9th at the Minute Maid Park, in Houston, Texas, USA.

Berto, 31, feels that the 31-year-old Kirkland’s ring rust could work against him in this fight because Kirkland hasn’t fought since December 2013 when he defeated Glen Tapia.

That’s almost a year and a half since Kirkland last fought, and he hasn’t been all that busy since 2009. The fights that he has taken were largely against mediocre fighters like Alfredo Angulo, Tapia, Carlos Molina, Alexis Hloros, Dennis Sharpe, Nobuhiro Ishida, Jhon Berrio, Ahsandi Gibbs, and Joel Julio.

“Kirkland’s been off a damn, what year and a half, two years,” Berto said via “He has a puncher’s chance but Canelo a beast.”

Normally a fighter that has been out of the ring is vulnerable after three or four rounds, because they tend to run out of gas quickly after starting out fast. But with Kirkland, he’s always been someone that is also shaky early in his fights so you can’t really know whether he’ll be okay at any point in the fight.

Kirkland was stopped in the 1st round in his fight against Ishida in 2011, and Ishida isn’t a big puncher. He had Kirkland down three times in the 1st round before the fight was halted.

Kirkland was knocked down by Angulo and Allen Conyers in fights he won. If Canelo is able to hurt Kirkland early in the fight then he’ll probably be able to finish him off without too much trouble.

For Kirkland to be able to wear Canelo down like he did with Tapia, Vera and Angulo, Kirkland is going to have to crowd Canelo and be able to take his big shots. Contrary to popular opinion, Canelo’s not a great inside fighter. He can punch, but he’s not an inside guy that can fight at close quarters.

Canelo needs room for him to be able to get his shots off, and if Kirkland and smother him, then we could see Canelo take a beating and get stopped. Floyd Mayweather Jr and Austin Trout both had Canelo hurt in their fights with him, and that shows pretty clearly that Canelo can definitely be hurt.

He backed off completely against Trout and stayed pinned to the ropes the entire second half of the fight after getting hurt with a body shot in the 7th round. Mayweather hurt Canelo with a flurry of shots after backing him up against the ropes.

I don’t know that the rust factor will be the biggest reason for Kirkland losing to Canelo. I think it might end before the rust shows. It’ll be more of a chin problem, or the massive amount of weight that Kirkland has taken off in order to get down to the 155 pound catch-weight to face Canelo. He reportedly started training camp around 200 pounds. That’s a lot of weight that Kirkland has to take off. He’s going to take the weight off, but I’m not so certain how well he’ll be able to perform.

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