This Saturday night on HBO World Championship Boxing, Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez returns to action in a big main event at Houston's Minute Maid Park. It's being billed as a triumphant return to the HBO airwaves for Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KO), the 24-year-old star who is figured to be in line to take over as the sport's box office king when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are done.
In 2012, Alvarez was part of the fleeing Golden Boy and Al Haymon stable that was taking its talents to Showtime. Following wins over Josesito Lopez and Austin Trout, he was given the fight he wanted in 2013, a showdown with Floyd Mayweather. Like everyone else, he failed. But he did return last year with a pair of PPV headlining wins over Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara, after which he, signed to Golden Boy and nothing to do with Al Haymon, made the move back to HBO following the perhaps inevitable collapse of the Golden Boy-Showtime marriage.
Alvarez, to his credit, is not known for taking easy fights. And his big return to HBO does have the potential to bite him, as he'll be facing devastating power puncher James Kirkland, a fearless brawler who at his best can bang away with anyone in the sport.
Let's go back to 2011, courtesy Golden Boy, to take a look at what may have been the defining moment of Kirkland's in-ring career. He went to Mexico to face rugged Alfredo Angulo, and boxing fans were given what was hyped: pure, unadulterated violence.
If you've never seen this fight, watch it. If you have, watch it again.
Kirkland is now 31 years old, has had just two fights since 2011, and won't have Ann Wolfe, his usual trainer, in his corner for this fight with Canelo. We honestly have no idea what to expect of James Kirkland on Saturday. But if he's got it together, he's incredibly dangerous to anyone, including Canelo Alvarez.