Two of boxing’s toughest warriors, Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and Texas titan James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland hosted press conferences on Tuesday, March 3 in Houston at Minute Maid Park and San Antonio at The Aztec Theater to announce details for their 12-round super welterweight showdown at Minute Maid Park in Houston on May 9. Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions, Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Chairman and CEO of SMS Promotions, Mike Battah, President of Leija*Battah and Texas boxing legend and Founder of Leija*Battah Promotions, Jesse James Leija, were also in attendance to discuss the much anticipated clash of two of boxing’s toughest fighters. Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Canelo Promotions, SMS Promotions and Leija*Battah Promotions will bring fans an explosive night of boxing on Saturday, May 9. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing ®.
Below is what Canelo Alvarez, James Kirkland, Oscar De La Hoya, Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and their teams had to say during the press conferences.
CANELO ALVAREZ, Former World Champion:
“I want to thank everyone for coming out today. As always you guys are very good to me you have always supported me.
“First of all I want to thank all the people; I feel like home every time I come to Texas.
“This is the first time that I am anxious to fight here and I am looking forward to fighting Kirkland. He is coming to fight. He is dangerous and powerful. I am also powerful and aggressive and I can guarantee you, this is going to be an explosive fight.
“I am very happy to be with Golden Boy Promotions, they want to make the best fights and so do I. I want to give fans an exciting night of boxing on May 9.
JAMES “MANDINGO WARRIOR” KIRKLAND, Super Welterweight Contender:
“I want to thank HBO Championship Boxing, Golden Boy Promotions, SMS Promotions for giving me this opportunity.
“I’m ready to put my life on the line and give it everything I’ve got. I want to show my fans what I’ve really come to do.
“May 9, we’re here. Team Kirkland!”
Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions:
“Canelo has faced all the top guys at this age. Why? Because he wants to be the very best and to be the very best you have to fight the very best.
“We have to pair the best styles to create the best fight. No questions asked, this is going to be the fight of the year.
“We have all seen what Kirkland can do. He is a tough fighter. But, these are the types of the fights that Canelo loves, the fights for the fans.
“In just two hours since they went on sale, 15,000 tickets have been sold for May 9.
“Canelo has said he wants to fight in Texas once a year. That is how important the Teaxs fans are to Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions.
“We are happy to announce that tickets start at $10. The $10 seat is probably the best seat because of how the arena is built. We wanted to reasonably price these tickets out of respect for the fans.
“We are thrilled and happy that we can have this fight here in Texas. Come Saturday May 9, we know that a lot of fans from San Antonio will be driving down and filling up the place in Houston.
“We are extremely happy to have a home for this fight and what better place than HBO.”
CURTIS ‘50 CENT’ JACKSON, Chairman and CEO of SMS Promotions:
“It’s a pleasure to be here and announce one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year.
“Fans will see something really exciting on May 9. In James, you have a fighter who is powerful, intense and aggressive.
“James is a powerful warrior, and you all will get to see him in action on May 9.”
MIKE BATTAH, President of Leija Battah Promotions:
“We’re going to experience a historical event on May 9. We have two warriors, Canelo and Kirkland. We are glad to be bringing a mega fight to Texas.
“We sold 39,000 tickets when Canelo was last here. We are going to beat that with this fight on May 9.”
JESSE JAMES LEIJA, Founder of Leija*Battah Promotions:
“Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo and Kirkland wanted to fight here in Texas so we got the closest venue we could for May 9 and that’s in Houston.
“We want everyone to come out here and show what kind of boxing fans we have in Texas.
“We want everyone to come out there on May 9 and let’s fill up Minute Maid Park. I’ll tell you what; it’s going to be a much better fight than the fight on May 2.
“You’ve got two powerful punchers, two guys that want to prove to Texas and the world who is the better man. It’s going to be a great fight.”
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer for Canelo Alvarez:
“We’re here to give you guys thanks, we are very thankful for all the support. We are also here to invite you to Houston on May 9.
“Styles make fights and the boxing styles of Canelo and Kirkland will make a war in the ring on May 9. Both of these fighters have come to fight.
“May belongs to the Mexicans, and on May 9 we will be chanting ‘Viva Mexico!’ ‘Viva Canelo!’”
EDDIE REYNOSO, Head Trainer for Canelo Alvarez:
“I want to thank everyone for being here. We are training hard to prepare Canelo to be ready to face a tough contender on May 9.
“On May 9 we have a dangerous fight, a fight that could end at any time with one punch. That’s why we have been getting ready since the second week of January. That’s why we are going get ready like never before. Kirkland is a fighter with a very big punch and he’s very good.
“I want to invite all of you to see Canelo May 9 at Minute Maid Park so that you can see a great knock out.”
BAY-BAY McCLINTON, Trainer for James Kirkland:
“I’ve known James since he was 16 years old. He was in my training camp I had eight guys. And, out of those eight guys James stood out the most to me. He promised me that ‘Whenever I have a big fight, you’re going to be the guy.’ He called me, and he stuck to his word.
“He’s going through hell right now, but I’ll tell you, come May 9 he’s not going to be a pit bull – he is going to be a beast.”
PETER NELSON, HBO Sports Vice President of Programing:
“Thank you guys for coming out. I think Texas has some of the best fight fans in the world. It’s always a privilege for us to come to Texas and we look forward to a great event on May 9.
“I think it is to the great credit of these two men, Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland, that they wanted to take this fight. I think it speaks to the quality of fighters that they are. This is as fine a fight as I’ve seen on the network since I started working at HBO. This is going to be an all-action fight. It is not to be missed.”
MARCEL BRAITHWAITE, Senior Vice President Business Operations Houston Astros
“We are very excited to help bring boxing back to the City of Houston and are proud to be hosting the first ever professional boxing match at Minute Maid Park.
“A special thanks to Golden Boy Promotions, SMS Promotions, Leija*Battah Promotions and our partners for bringing this once in a lifetime event to our venue.
“On behalf of the Houston Astros, we want to wish both fighters ‘good luck’ and to present them with a personalized authentic jersey on behalf of our entire team.”