LONDON - Mexican ace Canelo Alvarez says he is ready to claim the mantle of boxing’s pay-per-view star after Floyd Mayweather hangs up his gloves.
The 24-year-old light-middleweight takes on big-hitting James Kirkland this weekend, live and exclusive on BoxNation, in an edge-of-the-seat thriller in front of 35,000 at the Minute Maid Park in Texas.
Despite refusing to overlook the dangerous Kirkland, the flame-haired superstar is prepared to fill the gap once Mayweather calls it a day following his last fight in September and has even opened the door to a rematch with the money man after his 2013 points loss.
“I'm ready. I'm ready for whatever comes to my career. I work hard, I train hard, I fight the best, and if that's the role [next PPV star] that I have to take once they're [Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao] gone, then yes, I'm ready for it,” said Canelo.
“I would love it [a rematch with Mayweather]. It would interest me. I've learned more things, there's more experience, but right now, this fight is what's more important to me, and that's James Kirkland on Saturday,” he said.
Canelo is well aware of the threat knockout artist Kirkland possesses having stopped 28 opponents in his 32 wins, with just a single loss on his record.
The former WBC and WBA light-middleweight champion knows that this is a fight that has captivated the boxing public and says he will fight any fighter as long as it appeals to the fans.
“I'll fight any style. I'll be clear - I'll fight any style. I'm ready and willing to fight anybody, but the fans like this style because that's the fans, what they go to see. They want to go and see action, and these are the kind of fights where the people will leave happy,” said Canelo.
“Kirkland’s a very dangerous fighter because of his punch. His power is extreme. He can finish the fight with one punch, and then he also throws out of different angles, so it makes it even more complicated, more difficult, but more than anything, it's that power that he can finish a fight with one punch.
“My goal is always to fight the best in the world, so that the fans get what they want: to see the best fights possible. As long as they're at the top, I want to fight the best,” he said.
31-year-old Kirkland, who hasn’t fought since his electrifying win over Glen Tapia in 2013, is undaunted at the prospect of facing Canelo and says he is prepared to go toe-to-toe with the ferocious Mexican.
“I can just tell people this when they ask about boxing and what can I bring to the sport or how I picture myself: I am a force of nature that overrides a lot of the people that I fight. When they come with heart, I believe my heart is bigger than that,” said Kirkland.
“When they come with determination, I don't feel no one has the will power and the drive that I possess. When it comes to speed, I don't feel as if the opponent is going to be able to adapt, and if they do, I always got a step above my opponent.
“It's going to be a fight [against Canelo] that you don't have to worry about if they're going to run, if this person's going to be dodging and ducking and looking for somewhere to run and hide.
“Me and Canelo will meet in the middle of the ring and that's where the fight will take place. We may stay there the whole entire fight if he's going to come to fight like I'm coming to fight, then that will be the particular fight that the fans want to see,” he said.
Also, live and exclusive on BoxNation at 7pm this Saturday night from The SSE Arena in London, will be a stacked Queensberry Promotions card featuring rising star Frank Buglioni who defends his WBO European super-middleweight title against Lee Markham.
The 26-year-old known as ‘The Wise Guy’ is one of the country’s top emerging talents and is looking to make it an easy night’s work against the tough Markham.
“Camp has been spot on,” says Buglioni. “My spar mates Luke Keeler and Spike O’Sullivan have very similar styles to Markham, only they’re a lot better! Gary Boulden beat Markham yet Luke knocked Boulden out inside a round which puts it all in context. And Spike’s mixed at world level.
“They’ve been preparing me for a gruelling 12 round war. My strength and fitness are at an all time high. I’d never felt better than I did in my last fight and there’s been further improvement since. I’m really looking forward to showing everybody what I’ve added on May 9th - if the fight goes long enough!”
WBO European welterweight champion Bradley Skeete is also back in action as he takes on Brunet Zamora, with the exciting prospect Mitchell Smith up against Cristian Palma for the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt.
That’s not all from BoxNation who will air a third show on Saturday night when German star Felix Sturm looks to bounce back onto the world stage as he stakes on the hard-hitting Russian and current interim WBA super-middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov.
Canelo v Kirkland is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD, Virgin 546 and TalkTalk 525) this Saturday night at 2am. Visit boxnation.com to subscribe.