Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX, May 9
By Peter Lim
This is truly a fire-and-ice match-up that pits a relentless brawler-banger against a cool, nerves-of-steel boxer-puncher, neither of whom are rarely in a dull fight. Style-wise, Kirkland's weaknesses play more into Canelo's strengths than vice versa, but one need only look at Kirkland's 87.5 percent knockout rate to know that he is capable of separating anyone from his senses.
Kirkland has other predicaments working against him - the absence of Anne Wolfe in his corner, his long layoff sans tuneup fight and his shocking three-knockdown stoppage loss to Ishida. But even if you discount those factors, the most tell-tale harbinger to the outcome of this fight is Carlos Molina. If a guy like Molina could befuddle the bejesus out of Kirkland (before losing a dubious final-round disqualification in 2012), imagine what Canelo will do to him.
Kirkland will test Canelo's chin and resolve like no other fighter before, but Canelo will pass with flying colors and stop Kirkland in the sixth round.
Read the preview and analysis of Canelo-Kirkland at Houstonboxing.blogspot.com.