Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland

They promised action, and they delivered.

Former junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez rocked James Kirkland on Saturday night (May 9) in Houston, TX, with a third round knockout.

The 24-year-old Mexican boxer dropped his 31-year-old opponent three times, before a right put the lights out.

It was the kind of action-packed fight that last week’s Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao wasn’t.

“I’m happy about the win. The result was what I expected,” Alvarez said.

“I did not know I was knocked out,” said Kirkland.

Alvarez landed a powerful straight right hand that dropped Kirkland in the first. Kirkland was wobbly, but the fight went on until the third, when Canelo dropped him again with a clean right upper cut, and then, a vicious overhand right that made Kirkland say “Good night.”

The win was important for Alvarez, who will now get a title shot against middleweight champion Miguel Cotto this fall.

Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) and Cotto’s camps have signed a term sheet.

However, Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) has to retain his title in his first defense against titleholder Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 KOs) on June 6 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is exactly what needed to happen,” Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said of the intense action. “Mayweather-Pacquiao — people will forget. Styles make fights, and when Kirkland is ready, he will walk through anyone, but Canelo was ready, too. He was stronger and smarter.”