Texas knockout artist James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) hosted a media workout in San Antonio in advance of his face-off against Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) on May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston live on HBO World Championship Boxing ®.
In attendance were James Kirkland’s trainers, Bay Bay McClinton and Rick Morones and Leija*Battah Promotions’ Mike Battah in addition to Texas boxing legend Jesse James Leija.
Texas fighters featured in the non-televised undercard for May 9 were also at today’s media workout including James Leija Jr., the son of Texas Boxing Legend Jesse James Leija; Austin’s Curtis Meeks (9-1-2, 3 KOs), San Antonio’s Cresencio Ramos (2-0, 1 KO), Cut and Shoot, Texas’s light heavyweight Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez (23-3, 18 KOs), Houston lightweight Antonio Capulin (14-0, 6 KOs), and San Antonio’s Joseph Rodriguez (8-0, 2 KOs), all participated in the media workout.
Below are what the fighters had to say about their upcoming bouts on May 9 at Minute Maid Park:
JAMES KIRKLAND, Super Welterweight Contender:
“Gerald Tucker, Bay Bay McClinton, Rick Morones are all on my camp. They are working me hard, doing what it takes to win. Right now I am very happy that they are keeping me busy, motivated and are providing a tough camp for me to be ready on May 9.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for and overall I am happy. I feel blessed, and I am going to go out there and make history happen.
“I want to fight Canelo because I know his style. You see something, you analyze it, and I feel like I can beat him.
“I know Canelo is going to put in the work on fight night. I want to be a step ahead of him, so if he comes to box or comes for a slug fest, I will be ready.”
RICK MORONES, Head Trainer to James Kirkland:
“We all know he can fight; he is not a boring fighter. We have been improving his defense, his jabs to make him a more complete fighter.
“This fight will take him to the next level and he is very motivated. I see him in the gym everyday. He has a desire and passion for the sport.
“I am going to promise a great fight on May 9, with fireworks in the ring, and history will be made at Minute Maid Park”
BAY BAY McCLINTON, Strength and Conditioning Trainer to James Kirkland:
“We are ready to rock and roll. This fight will bring fireworks and will be more exciting than the fight the week before [May 2].
“I have been training him since he was 15-years-old, and he is very comfortable with his new training team.
“This fight will not go the distance, it’s not. I expect James to win via knockout. Be ready for a good fight James will not let his fans down.”
JESSE JAMES LEIJA, Founder of Leija*Battah Promotions and Texas Boxing Legend:
“May 9 is big for Texas and for boxing. The fight can go either way and with Kirkland’s power and Canelo’s stamina, it will be a great fight for the boxing fans.
“We have so many great fighters on the card. We are trying to build world champions in Texas and a fight like this can definitely get them there.
“I see the fight ending early, the way these guys fight. I don’t see a decision happening. It will definitely be an exciting night.”
MIKE BATTAH, President of Leija*Battah:
“We have a great venue with Minute Maid Park, the roof can open and close in 45 seconds! Rain or shine, we will be there on May 9
JAMES LEIJA JR., Featherweight Prospect:
“I am looking forward to seeing the crowd on fight night. I have always dreamed of being in the ring in front of a large crowd and May 9 will be my chance to show everyone what I can do in the ring.
“I know my opponent, Eric Butler, has more experience than I do. But, I have seen him fight and I feel like I can out-box him. I feel like I am a better boxer overall.
“I have been training for about for two months, and I always train as a professional even when I was an amateur. We have picked it up and made it more challenging, having me spar with undefeated fighters in San Antonio. I want to make my sparring sessions harder than what the fight will be.”
CURTIS MEEKS, Super Lightweight Prospect:
“I’m looking to dominate the fight on May 9. That’s what I’ve come to do. I’m in shape, I’m ready and I’m coming in to give the fans what they want to see.
“My opponent is a young fighter who will be prepared to fight. Kirkland and I grew up together. We’ve just got to give the fans what they asked for, which is an a**-whooping.
“I have been in camp with James Kirkland. So I’ve been focused on training every day. Making sure that I am tested every day. That’s what I do. I’m ready to work.”
CRESENCIO RAMOS, Featherweight Prospect:
“I am looking to impress fans on May 9and get the win.
“I know my opponent has more experience, and I am going to try to wear him down.
“We started training two weeks ago and adding more power to my punches and using my quickness to me ready for an exciting night at Minute Maid Park.”
ALFONSO LOPEZ, Welterweight Prospect:
“I’m looking forward to the excitement of the crowd on May 9. The whole atmosphere, the build-up and knowing that the level of fighters that are going to be there, it’s going to be amazing.
“We’re working hard. We know my opponent is a southpaw from Cuba. He’s very slick. So, we’re getting ready the best that we can.
“This year we’ve been steady at it [training camp] for 10 weeks. The focus has been more punches, more hand speed. I’m trying to sit down on my power a bit more.”
ANTONIO CAPULIN, Super Featherweight Prospect:
“I’m looking forward to a big, hard fight. I want to perform; I want to be real good in front of all the fans at Minute Maid Park.
“They have a couple of names in mind for my opponent. Angel Hernandez was one of them.
“I’ve been training for about a month and a half now, and my focus is to do as many rounds as possible and to be in top shape. I want to give fans a lot of action in the ring.”
JOSEPH RODRIGUEZ, Featherweight Prospect:
“I’m very honored and humbled to be part of the fight. I can’t wait to show my speed. I’m very elusive so I can’t wait to show my talent over all. To be part of this fight is very exciting and I can’t wait to show what I have.
“For training camp, we stepped it up for this fight. I feel very confident and prepared for this fight.
“My opponent is from Houston, so I have that against me. He is 3-0, with one draw. He’s a lot taller than me. Everybody should be expecting a good fight.”
Tickets priced at $350, $150, $100, $50, $25 and $10, plus applicable fees and service charges, are available for purchase at Astros.com/boxing, the Minute Maid Park Box Office (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, online at www.ticketmaster.com. There is a 19-ticket limit per household.