by David P. Greisman
James Kirkland was down in the first, down again two rounds later, then put down for the count once more in the third round. He didn’t spot the punch from Canelo Alvarez that ended the fight on Saturday night in Houston, nor did he even know realize that he’d been knocked out.
“I left my left hand down and he came over the top and caught me with a shot. I tried to regroup. The referee, he called it off,” Kirkland said in his initial post-fight interview, with HBO’s Max Kellerman.
“I did not know I was knocked out,” he told a publicist working for the promotion later. “I jumped on him early and I knew I had him hurt early in the first round, but he escaped out of the corner. We both threw bombs the entire time. He hurt me. I hurt him. I did not see the knockout punch coming.”
The shot laid him out, and referee Jon Schorle immediately waved things off, giving Alvarez a sensational win in front of a highly supportive crowd of 31,588. Kirkland, 31, of Austin, Texas, is now 32-2 with 28 KOs.
“At the end of the day I’m a warrior,” Kirkland said. “He’s a crafty fighter. He come with a lot of skill.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]