By Peter Lim
What a crying shame for the sport that the so-called Fight of the Century turned out to be such a dud on the heels of Canelo-Kirkland. Had Mayweather-Pacquiao even remotely lived up to its hype, it might have generated sufficient momentum to propel many a casual fan to follow through and watch a genuinely explosive match-up that is Canelo-Kirkland and perhaps seal their conversion to lifelong boxing aficionados. Instead, the disappointing, anticlimactic result of the richest fight in boxing history probably rendered the general public turned off and tuned out, relegating this potential Fight of the Year to an audience of diehard boxing fans and Mexican patriots.
At the final press conference at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Houston, Oscar De La Hoya appeared to have his hands tied as far as promoting Canelo-Kirkland as the doozy that follows the snoozy since HBO was intent on replaying Mayweather-Pacquiao prior to the live broadcast. But Bernard Hopkins couldn't resist poking veiled ridicule at the Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle and aftermath. Turning to both fighters, Hopkins asked, "Canelo, are you healthy? Kirkland, are you healthy?" When both answered "yes," Hopkins declared, "Then this is going to be a fight!"
Both Canelo and Kirkland were respectful, brief and predictable at the podium, thanking the various players and their respective teams and fans, but revealing little else.
"I can't wait for Saturday," Canelo said. "We know what James is capable of and that's why we've worked very hard, so we can come out with this victory. I heard he said he was going to knock me out. It's very easy to state words but once we step in the ring let's let the fists to the talking."
"I have been looking forward to this moment for a long time," Kirkland said. "We had this fight set up once before but it was canceled due to an injury. My training camp has been outstanding. Canelo brings a lot to the game; he has a great team backing him."
The only hint of trash talk came from a mild exchange between Kirkland's trainer Bay Bay McClinton and Canelo's manager Jose "Chapo" Reynoso.
"The last time Mexico came to Texas, remember the Alamo," McClinton said.
Responding to McClinton, Reynoso said: "I didn't understand this young man (McClinton) but I could see that he was angry. We're very happy and the reason is, on Saturday night we're going to see two tremendous warriors going toe-to-toe and at the end of the night, with raised fists, Canelo Alvarez is going to say 'Viva Mexico!' Thank you very much."