Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) and Texas knockout artist James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) participated in an international media conference call on Tuesday, April 21 to discuss their upcoming 12-round super welterweight bout set for May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The super welterweight fight will also be televised live on May 9 on HBO World Championship Boxing ® at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
CANELO ALVAREZ, Former WBC and WBA Super Welterweight World Champion:
“Returning to Texas has motivated me tremendously. To have the support form the fans and the love, is what gets me to train harder.
“You are always learning in this game. Going back to the gym to correct mistakes. Sometimes opponents are willing to participate. We are going to do our part and hope the fans are very happy.
“I am ready for whatever comes to my career. I fight hard; I train hard. Whatever happens, I am ready for it.
“We know what James brings to table. A very dangerous, strong, come forward fighter. We are sparring and training. We have to be more intelligent and be prepared come fight night.
“I will fight anywhere. As long as the fans go, enjoy the fight, and walk out happy, I will fight anywhere.
“Kirkland is a very dangerous because his punch is very powerful, very extreme. His punches come from all angles. But, mostly his power, he can beat a fighter with one punch. My goal is to fight the best in the world and the fans get what they want. Independent of the styles, I want to fight the best. We are preparing knowing what we have in front of us.
“People are talking and the majority believe that the fight will end in a knock out, that it won’t go the distance. But, I am ready to go 12-hard rounds.
“At this time, my only focus right now is James Kirkland. There have been talks of my next fight but right now my focus is on James Kirkland, there is nothing else.
“I am working hard, training hard, taking the tough fights, the biggest fights. And only time will tell and the people will tell. In the meantime, I will just be doing my job.”
JAMES “MANDINGO WARRIOR” KIRKLAND, Super Welterweight Contender:
“I appreciate Golden Boy Promotions, SMS Promotions, HBO and everyone sponsoring the fight, everyone that is backing this fight up. Thank you to the fans and the support that has been there from day one. It has been the motivation I need for the fight. I am doing everything I need to do for May 9 to get ready and I am ready for the opportunity.
“I have been preparing myself for an opportunity like this and needed to take time to learn more about boxing. I am prepared. One thing I can say is that the course that takes place should be a positive one and I never stop being in the gym, stop working.
“I am definitely encouraged and anxious. It’s not something I am proving to myself and the city, but to my fans. Kirkland is a warrior.
“If the fight was scheduled for 20 rounds, I would prepare to go 30 rounds. I plan on it being an action-packed fight, round after round. Whatever amount of rounds, I am ready to go all the way. I put in the work and in the training.
“I’m a fighter. I definitely feel like I have the power, will, confidence, speed, heart, and determination to beat Canelo. I feel I have the whole package. After my last fight, I have been putting myself in a position with my training so that on May 9, I can let it all show.
“This is one opportunity I have been wanting. This is a must do and a fight that fans want to see. I am prepared to make big things happen and believe this is my opportunity. This opportunity is going to bring the next best thing to my career.
“I definitely feel like I have a lot to lose and a lot is on the table for this fight. This is something that is destined for me-to take care of business on May 9. And, I feel like I have the right team behind me and supporting me.
“I am a force of nature that overrides. With heart, my heart is bigger. When it comes to will, no one has my determination. With speed, no one has my speed. When people ask about it, it is a fight you don’t have to worry about. Canelo and I will meet in the middle of the ring and that is where it will all take place.
“I’m a lot more strategized with defense, at the same time being able to move and adjust. The things you’ve seen me lacking, these are the things you’re going to see Kirkland advance and enhance in his ability.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions:
“May 9 should be an explosive night, one to remember.
“We would like to thank HBO, Minute Maid Park, Leija*Battah Promotions, SMS Promotions and all the sponsors for making this event possible.
“Canelo is a fearless fighter who is ready to take on the best fighters in his division.”
CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON, Chairman and CEO of SMS Promotions:
“I am very excited about the event. Mayweather brought me and Kirkland together. Between the Canelo-Kirkland fight and the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, we will see what this sport is all about.
“You will see the best version of James Kirkland on May 9.
“May 9 is going to be exciting, everyone tune in if you can’t be there. Go down to the stadium and get your tickets now before they sell out.”
MIKE BATTAH, President of Leija Battah Promotions:
“We are looking forward to a mega fight, a historical event in Houston. You can’t miss it.
“James Leija Jr. will be doing his pro debut fight and it will be something to see.”
JESSE JAMES LEIJA, Texas Boxing Legend and Founder of Leija Battah Promotions:
“Boxing is a true sport. The best man is going to win on May 9. We have two fighters who can win in one punch. We have one fighter who is super strong, Kirkland, and the other, a technician, Canelo. It is going to be who can overcome the other.
“And, I am excited my son will be making his pro debut as well. It’s a great night for Texas. A great night of boxing.”