Boxing


James Kirkland Out Of Prison, Expected To Return To Ring In December - Can The Unbeaten 154-pounder Pick Up Where He Left Off?

By James Slater - Back near the beginning of last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing red-hot light-middleweight warrior James Kirkland. Happy to talk - about his upcoming fight with Joel Julio mostly - Kirkland, when I asked him what he’d be doing with his life if he were not a boxer, replied that without boxing he’d “probably be dead or in prison,” adding that boxing “saved” him.

How ironic those words turned out to be, when in April the fearsome puncher from Texas was sent to prison for carrying an illegal firearm. Thankfully, as has been reported by ESPN.com and Ringtv.com, the 26-year-old with the unblemished (fighting) record of 25-0(22) was today released into a halfway house.. Kirkland will spend the next few months atthe halfway house in Austin, but he will be allowed to resume training as soon as he wishes to. And the word from James’ co-manager Cameron Dunkin is he will start training “immediately.”

Fellow co-manager Michael Miller told ESPN.com that Kirkland weighed 172-pounds when he was released from prison and that he looked to be in great physical shape. The word is, Kirkland will make his ring return in December, on a Golden Boy card. There is no word yet regarding whether or not Anne Wolf will continue to be the contender’s trainer.

It will be interesting indeed to see how the jail time has affected Kirkland. Will he be a better, more mature fighter now? Or will the time he spent in prison have affected Kirkland in a negative way? There is no way to tell how long months in a prison cell can alter a person’s mindset.

When he was doing his stuff pre-arrest, Kirkland was fast becoming one of the most talked about young fighters in the sport. A natural predator in the ring, with shades of a young Mike Tyson to his ring approach, Kirkland thrilled fans with his power and aggression. If he can pick up where he left off, and if prison time has not robbed him of any physical or mental strength, all the active 154-pounders had better get ready for a tough night should they agree to fight Kirkland (assuming the southpaw returns as a light-middleweight).

Before he went away, Kirkland was busy proving himself with wins over the likes of Eromosele Albert, Bryan Vera and Julio - halting all three men. His handlers have made it clear they will not look to rush James, and that he will be given adequate time in which to re-adapt to life out of prison, but already fans are salivating at the thought of fights between Kirkland and guys like Alfredo Angulo, Saul Alvarez and others,

If he is still the powerhouse of a fighter he was last year, Kirkland will again light up the arenas he fights in. However, even though less than two years in prison may not seem all that long, we will have to wait and see if the man who was on the verge of stardom has retained his fitness, whether or not he can regain his skills, and if he has the same desire that he had.

Article posted on 01.10.2010



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