Before they met in the ring last May, Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland talked knock out.
The two punchers had iced 60 opponents between them. No one expected a dance. They expected a fight.
They got it.
Kirkland came out swinging--pushing the favored Alvarez into the ropes. He landed a couple of combinations. Alvarez covered up. He looked a little stunned, or maybe surprised.
A minute later, Alvarez staggered the onrushing Kirkland with a stinging right hand. His deadly uppercut also landed.
Alvarez, now fully engaged, let fly with numerous blows. A right hook sent Kirkland toppling to the canvas. Kirkland beat the count and fought back. Alvarez stopped him in his tracks with a murderous punch to the midsection.
As Kirkland waited, Alvarez unleashed a full arsenal of shots. Many of them landed. By the end of the round, Kirkland was woozy, like a patron at a bar who needed some air.
The one-minute rest did wonders for Kirkland. He came out for Round two looking surprisingly refreshed. His recuperative powers are uncanny.
On the other hand, Alvarez looked gassed. He still managed another hard combination to the head, but Kirkland absorbed the blows and punched back. He worked Alvarez over on the ropes. A sneaky uppercut connected. Alvarez returned fire during the last 15 seconds of the stanza. His right hook rarely missed.