But boxing fans may actually get a fight with plenty of fireworks this Saturday night, when Canelo Alvarez takes on James Kirkland at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“It’s what I call a crowd pleaser,” Kirkland told BET.com recently, “and definitely not a crowd teaser.”
50 Cent, whose SMS Promotions represents Kirkland, promises an action-packed bout as well.
“Somebody’s getting knocked out,” 50 told BET.com. “I’ll say it out the gate.”
If there was ever a perfect promoter for Kirkland, it’s 50. Like Kirkland, Fif is no stranger to controversy and understands persevering through extreme adversity.
Kirkland, a southpaw from Austin, Texas, hasn’t fought since knocking out Glen Tapia in December 2013, withdrawing from scheduled bouts mostly due to disputes over purse money. The 17-month layoff marks Kirkland’s second lengthy absence from the ring.
In March 2009, he was sent to prison for a gun possession conviction and missed two years of boxing action. Then in June 2013, he was also arrested for an assault.
Through it all, 50 has stuck by Kirkland’s side, having officially been his promoter since October 2013.
“I understand James. Here’s a guy who doesn’t mind being in the toughest situation possible because he has always been in that perspective,” 50 said. “Walking into the ring as the underdog, he has advanced in that way. He moved up that way.”
The rap mogul says that when Mike Tyson recently caught up with he and Kirkland in New York City, Fif told them that they’re one in the same.
“They got those kind those kind of demons, where it could easily be armed robbery if it wasn’t boxing,” 50 offered.
That being said, Kirkland has been more conscious about his moves outside the ring than ever before.
“I’ve been trying to build myself as a role model and be a fine example for my kids,” he said. “I want to set it up to where anybody who knows me and knows boxing says ‘Kirkland came from ground zero, came up and actually made stuff happen and took care of his family.'”
Taking care of his family via the hurt business, where Kirkland (32-1 with 28 knockouts) has carved out a reputation as a heavy-handed puncher, just as Alvarez (44-1-1 with 31 KOs) has.
“I’m a fighter, I’m a boxer, I’m a brawler, I’m a chin-checker,” said Kirkland, 31. “I want to break him into pieces.”
If Kirkland can return from a 17-month layoff to defeat 24-year-old Alvarez decisively, 50 thinks his guy might have earned a shot at "Money" Mayweather.
“In the situation that James knocks Canelo out, there’s endless opportunities for him,” 50 said. "It may even be that the James versus Floyd competition opens up. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t with him knocking out Canelo.”
BET Sports News - Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photos from left: Scott Heavey/Getty Images, Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)