"Canelo" Alvarez, left, scored a lopsided decision over Shane… (Ethan Miller / Getty Images )
James Kirkland was announced Thursday as the new opponent for Mexico star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 15, days after Alvarez's original opponent, Paul Williams, was left paralyzed in a motorcycle accident near Atlanta.
Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, said Kirkland was "signed and sealed," for the bout, a World Boxing Council super-welterweight title fight.
Kirkland, 28, is 31-1 with 27 knockouts, and he's coming off compelling bouts against Alfredo Angulo, winning by a sixth-round technical knockout in November, and Carlos Molina, who was disqualified while ahead on scorecards in the 10th round.
The bout will stage Mexico's 20-year-old matinee idol Alvarez against the gritty Kirkland, who's trained by Ann Wolfe and has overcome jail terms for armed robbery and firearm possession, the latter of which saw him released in September 2010.
Kirkland underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder following the Molina bout in March but was declared fit to resume training in time to fight Sept. 15 in what will be Alvarez's first headlined pay-per-view card at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) won at MGM on May 5, scoring a lopsided decision over former multi-division world champion Shane Mosley.
Schaefer said the card will be promoted as "Knockout Kings," and include a WBC featherweight title bout pitting champion Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico against countryman Daniel Ponce de Leon, who resides in Huntington Park.
Schaefer said he plans to stage other bouts likely to end by knockout and will poll the pay-per-view audience to vote for best knockout of the night, which will provide the winner a $100,000 bonus.
Paul Williams surgery postponed until Friday
Paul Williams paralyzed following motorcycle crash
Police: Boxer Paul Williams was driving motorcycle too fast at time of crash