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Published on May 10th, 2015 | by PEM


James Kirkland Talks Canelo and Recapturing the Killer Instinct

Outside of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, Saturday’s HBO bout pitting James Kirkland against Canelo Alvarez has been one of boxing’s most delayed contests. First negotiated for the fall of 20212, Kirkland walked away citing purse split concerns. The ensuing years saw vastly different fortunes for both men. Canelo’s star power continued to rise via his 2013 challenge to Mayweather, and wins over avoided technicians Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara. Kirkland has only fought once since, waging war in a 2013 Fight of the Year candidate and KO over Glen Tapia.

With Kirkland’s layoff, Canelo has the momentum advantage. But the man who calls himself “The Mandingo Warrior” does not break nor shy away from a challenge.

Knockout Nation: When this fight was announced, there was concern that you were starting camp too heavy due to the year-plus layoff. Did you have to spend most of this camp losing the weight?

Kirkland: First let me give thanks to God for another day. I can say the starting weight was a little high. But two weeks ago I was at 159 pounds. Just imagine my workrate and where I’m at now. I’ll put it to you like this – weight is not an issue. Overall I’m happy about how this camp has been going.

There’s a lot of stuff I’m doing differently like core workouts and having a strength and conditioning coach. It’s taking my body to whole ‘nother level. The stamina and skill is there.

Knockout Nation: You started off by thanking God, which is different from the James Kirkland I remember from a few years ago. With everything that’s changed in your life and getting older, how can you still have the ruthless, primal killer instinct that fans fell in love with?

Kirkland: Man, a lot of things have changed in my life, but I’m still James Kirkland. That showed in the Glen Tapia fight. Far as still wanting to take control of my opponents, everything is still there. I want to make a major name in boxing beyond what I’ve already accomplished. I still want to take advantage of and hurt my opponents.

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