Ring Magazine's Lem Satterfield reports via Twitter that Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland have both agreed to a September 15 fight, confirming the speculation that Kirkland would be tabbed as the replacement for Paul Williams, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash a few days ago.
Kirkland (31-1, 27 KO) and Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO) were rumored to be meeting on that date before Williams' name was attached to the fight, but Kirkland's team instead opted to wait and fight a bit later, as the fighter is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Obviously, this is a unique situation, and Golden Boy needed a quality replacement. Kirkland has been cleared medically and all expectations are that he'll be able to fight without any massive setbacks on September 15. The WBC has also decided to make this a mandatory title fight, allowing Canelo a chance to get rid of that obligation while he takes what is really an optional defense.
Before his team originally decided to turn down the fight, Kirkland said he was ready to face Canelo, and that Canelo had better get ready for a ferocious challenge:
"I know one thing, when it comes to fighting a James Kirkland - what he brought to the table [against Mosley] - he's got to put on a lot more [for me]. Because I'm strictly a 100% fighter. They just know what they are getting themselves into when they step in the ring with Kirkland."
The 28-year-old Texan hasn't been spectacular since re-starting his career after another jail stint last year, as he's suffered a bad TKO-1 loss to Nobuhiro Ishida, and had a pretty poor performance last time out before coming on late and then receiving a controversial DQ win over Carlos Molina.
It's a matchup I like just fine, especially given the circumstances, but given Kirkland's defensive weaknesses and fairly questionable chin, I have to heavily favor Alvarez here. But it should be a hell of a fight while it lasts.
One undercard fight has already been signed, as Jhonny Gonzalez will defend the WBC featherweight title against Daniel Ponce De Leon.