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Canelo Alvarez to fight Kirkland

Former junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez, who withdrew from talks to challenge middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto last week because Cotto was taking too long to make a deal, officially moved on Friday as he and slugger James Kirkland signed to fight each other, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN.com.

The scheduled 12-round bout, which will be at a contract maximum weight of 155 pounds, likely will take place May 2 either at the Alamodome in San Antonio or the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya said the fight will be live on HBO, not on pay-per-view.

Kirkland signed for the fight a couple of days ago. Alvarez signed after De La Hoya visited him at his San Diego home to close the deal Friday.

"The fight is done. Kirkland signed, Canelo has signed," De La Hoya said.

Fighting on May 2 is important to Alvarez, Mexico's most popular active fighter, because it is Cinco de Mayo weekend. However, that is also the date pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. intends to fight on pay-per-view.

De La Hoya said Alvarez-Kirkland will take place May 2 regardless of who Mayweather fights, with one exception. If a deal for Mayweather to face Manny Pacquiao comes to fruition -- and it appears unlikely -- De La Hoya said he would move the fight to a different date "out of respect for the fans."

"So we'll know in a few more days exactly what day and what venue the fight will be at, but it will either be Las Vegas or San Antonio," De La Hoya said. "We're focused on what Canelo is doing, not Mayweather. The kid is firm on fighting in May. But, like I have said, if Mayweather fights Manny Pacquiao on May 2, we will move off the date out of respect for the fans."

Alvarez and Kirkland like to mix it up, and Kirkland is one of boxing's biggest punchers, which should make for a fan-friendly fight.

"We'll probably call the fight 'Explosive,' because that is exactly what it will be," De La Hoya said. "All I can remember is being ringside in Cancun (in November 2011) and watching Kirkland destroy [Alfredo] Angulo. So when you have a puncher like that it's always a dangerous fight regardless of how long Kirkland has been away [from the ring]. This is the big fight Kirkland has wanted for a long time and now he has it."

Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), a southpaw who turns 31 in March, has not fought since knocking out Glen Tapia in the sixth round in December 2013. Kirkland has turned down several fights, typically because he is unhappy with the money, and he also has had legal problems. A few years ago, Kirkland accepted a fight with Alvarez, only to back out within days because he was unhappy with his purse and also claimed that his shoulder was not fully healed from a previous injury.

Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), 24, will be fighting for the first time since leaving Showtime and signing an exclusive multifight contract with HBO in September. The deal was supposed to begin with a Dec. 6 fight against former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey, but the fight was called off after Alvarez elected to undergo treatment for a persistent left ankle injury.

De La Hoya said Alvarez was not looking back at what might have been with Cotto, a fight that loomed as the biggest in boxing besides the potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

"Canelo just wants to fight. Canelo wants Kirkland because he knows it's going to be an entertaining fight and he knows Kirkland won't run and will be in his face," De La Hoya said. "Canelo is not moved at all by Cotto pulling out. He's moving on and he is going to be fighting against Kirkland."

De La Hoya said he worked out a deal with Kirkland promoter (and rap star) Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson to become Kirkland's co-promoter in a multiyear deal. Golden Boy promoted Kirkland for several years before he went to Jackson.

"We are going to be working with James for several fights," De La Hoya said.

Michael Miller, Kirkland's manager, said he was happy that Kirkland was finally going to fight again.

"I wish it would have come without a big 17-month break," Miller said. "We were asked in November if we wanted a tune-up but we said if you're gonna give us Canelo, let's just go right to May and he can use that time to train."

It looked like Alvarez was going to face Cotto instead, but it worked out for Kirkland, Miller said.

"James is excited and thankful for the opportunity, and now he is ready to go to work," Miller said.