Boxing

Cotto, Kirkland try to rebound with fight at The Ford Center

Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland have something distinctly in common.

The last time the boxers hopped in the ring for a fight, they each lost to Canelo Alvarez. Fast-forward over a year later, and Cotto and Kirkland will square off against each other in a 12-round junior middleweight fight at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, at the AT&T Stadium box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

The first Puerto Rico-born fighter to win four world titles in four weight classes, Cotto is 40-5 overall with 33 knockouts and is highly favored to add to his impressive win total when he faces Kirkland. It will be Cotto’s first bout since he lost to Alvarez on Nov. 21, 2015, and he’s eager to get back in the ring.

“All I can say right now is I’m going to bring my best every day, every training session,” Cotto said during a Monday afternoon news conference at the Ford Center. “I’m going to bring my best next Feb. 25 to face James and hopefully take the victory back to Puerto Rico.

“It’s been a pleasure to come back here in Texas. It’s very special for me because my first two fights were here, so I’m excited to be fighting back in this great state of Texas.”

Likewise, Kirkland, who is 32-2 with 28 knockouts, is trying to flush the defeat to Alvarez out of his system. The Austin native suffered a third-round knockout at the hands of Alvarez on May 9, 2015 before some 40,000 fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

“I actually didn’t give it my all when it came down to fight Alvarez,” Kirkland said. “I didn’t prepare the way I needed to.

“But I can’t bring any excuses to the table. I’m going out there to definitely show — not just my team — but my fans and people who have definitely been following me and supporting me, that Kirkland is still in the race, Kirkland is still here to make a stand and keep my name alive.”

Legendary women’s boxer Ann Wolfe, who once held four world titles in four weight classes at the same time, is the personal trainer and coach for Kirkland.

A no-nonsense type, Wolfe vows that Kirkland will be better prepared to fight Cotto than he was when he fought Alvarez in Houston.

“Every time Miguel has entered the ring I was rooting for him to win, every time James has entered the ring — even though I wasn’t there — I was rooting for him to win,” Wolfe said. “So this is going to be the first time that I won’t be rooting for Miguel to win.

“James, he’s going to fight. Regardless of who Cotto is with, he’s going to fight. I’m here to tell y’all it’s going to be a good fight, somebody is going to get knocked out, so come and watch and see who it’s going to be.”

The fight will be shown on HBO Pay-for-View and this will be the first pro sporting event held at The Ford Center, which opened this past summer.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he never considered holding this fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“We can do 20,000 for a fight [at Ford Center], but we’re expecting over 10,000 for the event,” Jones said. “We thought it’d be a good way to initiate our first pro effort here, so we really deliberately looked for an event that would fit here as opposed to AT&T Stadium.

“So this has been in the planning a little while, not to mention we looked at possibly a series of these fights here.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland

Feb. 25, The Ford Center, Frisco

Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland

12-round junior middleweight bout

Feb. 25, The Ford Center at The Star, Frisco

TV: HBO Pay-Per-View

Tickets: $29 to $304 (not including applicable service charges and taxes). Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000, AT&T Stadium box office

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