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 junior middleweight takes on big-hitting James Kirkland this weekend, in an expected edge-of-the-seat thriller in front of 35,000 at 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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”