By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Lou DiBella fielded questions about matching Sergio Martinez against virtually every champion or top contender at 154, 160 and 168 pounds in the aftermath of Martinez’s technical knockout win against Matthew Macklin.
It took more than a half-hour, but someone eventually suggested a name that hasn’t been mentioned much in the Martinez mix. “What about James Kirkland?,” a reporter asked in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“If Kirkland wants to fight, we’ll fight him tomorrow,” DiBella said. “We’ll fight Kirkland at any time. But if Kirkland wants the fight, he’ll have to come up and fight for the middleweight title. We’re not moving down in weight to fight James Kirkland.”
The 28-year-old Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs), of Austin, Texas, is scheduled to box against Chicago’s Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) in a WBC 154-pound elimination match Saturday night in Houston. The Kirkland-Molina fight will open an HBO “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader that’ll feature Mexican legend Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) against Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event for Morales’ WBC super lightweight title.
Kirkland proved during his last fight, a spectacular six-round TKO of Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KOs) on Nov. 5 in Cancun, Mexico, that he has overcome his stunning first-round TKO defeat to Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (24-7-2, 9 KOs) on April 9 in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.