By Edward Chaykovsky
Veteran trainer Ronnie Shields is giving dangerous junior middleweight James Kirkland (32-1, 28KOs) a very good shot to upset Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (44-1-1, 31KOs) on May 9th at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
Both fighters will be coming back from decent layoffs. Canelo fighting for the first time since last July's split decision win over Erislandy Lara, and Kirkland has been away from the ring since a 2013 knockout win over Glen Tapia.
Shields, who trains Lara and the Charlo brothers, views Kirkland as a very live dog.
"[Canelo is] in a lot of danger in that fight, he’s fighting a puncher. James Kirkland is no slouch, no matter who he fights, James Kirkland is going to be in the fight. Here is the thing that I think is going to hurt James Kirkland, that he doesn’t have Anne Wolfe in the corner. Anne Wolfe knows how to motivate him, she knows what’s good for him and what’s bad for him," Shields told On The Ropes Boxing Radio.
Canelo has displayed stamina issue in the second half of his fights. Kirkland is like a machine that never stops punching from start to finish. If Kirkland is able to weather the early storm, Shields could see an upset in the making.
"The problem that I know that James is going to have is losing the weight. Canelo has the same problem of losing the weight but at the same time, I know Kirkland has a lot of stamina and Canelo doesn’t. So if Kirkland can stand up to Canelo’s punches early, Kirkland is going to be in the fight late and I think the later the fight goes, it’s going to better for James Kirkland," Shields said.