Advertisement
Advertisement

Kirkland Not Overly Concerned With Layoff or Tapia

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK — James Kirkland isn’t worried about his 20-month layoff or his young, hungry, unbeaten opponent.

With so many questions to answer in his first fight since March 2012, the powerful southpaw from Austin, Texas, is anxious to prove against Glen Tapia on Saturday night in Atlantic City that he remains one of the best junior middleweights in boxing.

“I’m not really concerned about it,” Kirkland told BoxingScene.com regarding his long layoff. “I just know we put in the work. I’ve been training since the layoff. I’m prepared, ready to get it in and I want to see what he’s going to bring to the table.”

Legal and promotional issues mostly have prevented Kirkland from competing since he defeated Chicago’s Carlos Molina by disqualification 20 months ago in Houston. But after rekindling his on-again, off-again partnership with trainer Ann Wolfe during training camp for the Tapia fight, Kirkland (31-1, 27 KOs) is confident he’ll re-establish himself in the 154-pound division.

His 10-round fight against Tapia (20-0, 12 KOs), of Passaic, N.J., will be one of three televised by HBO from the Adrian Phillips Ballroom inside Boardwalk Hall.

“I understand he’s never been stopped,” Kirkland said. “But I know he’s never been in that type of deep water against a fighter like me. He’s trying to raise his stock up. He’ll get to see why I’m James Kirkland. I’m definitely ready.”

Kirkland’s pulverizing power, defensive flaws and questionable chin have made him one of boxing’s most unpredictable, fascinating fighters.

He got dropped three times and stopped in the first round of what was supposed to be a tune-up fight against light-punching Japanese veteran Nobuhiro Ishida (25-9-2, 10 KOs) in April 2011. In his next fight, Kirkland displayed remarkable resolve by surviving a first-round knockdown and stopping Mexican brawler Alfredo Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) in the sixth round of a November 2011 slugfest in Cancun.

The 29-year-old Kirkland expects comparable drama against the tough, talented Tapia, who hasn’t faced an opponent as dangerous or accomplished as Kirkland during his five-year pro career.

“I believe this is going to be one of those fights that’s definitely going to be a crowd-pleaser,” said Kirkland, who’ll fight for the first time Saturday night since signing with rapper 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions. “Everybody’s going to be up and everybody’s going to be on the edge of their chairs. He throws combinations, I throw combinations, I throw hurtful shots. I do it all. So I’m definitely going to want to show the boxing world that Kirkland’s still here and I’m here to stay.”

Kirkland respects Tapia, who’ll turn 24 next week, but doesn’t think the fan-friendly contender will withstand his power.

“Tapia does it all,” Kirkland said. “He boxes, he can bang, he can move. But he’s never fought a left-hander like me and he’s never been touched with this type of power. I believe that my skills, my power and my determination is going to override everything.”

The Kirkland-Tapia fight will be the second of three HBO bouts Saturday night. The telecast is set to start at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT with a 10-round middleweight match that’ll send England’s Matthew Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs) against Lamar Russ (14-0, 7 KOs), of Wilmington, N.C. In the main event, unbeaten Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) will defend his WBA and WBO super bantamweight championships against Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko (29-4, 22 KOs).

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by mshap on 12-07-2013

Kirkland gets completely outclassed and stopped late....

Comment by thiefery on 12-07-2013

Kirkland wins this within 4 rounds

Comment by Southpawology on 12-07-2013

Love kirklands style and hes a lefty so im rocking out with him, will admit though ive never seen tapia fight.

Comment by Cuban Linx on 12-07-2013

I love watching Kirkland fight, he always brings it. This should be a great fight, but I have Kirkland by KO.

Comment by _original_ on 12-07-2013

Don't know too much about Tapia, but Kirkland is an exciting fighter so I'm hoping for a barn burner before Rigo puts on another beautiful sweet science showcase.

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (24)
Top Headlines Hatton Warns Khan: Canelo Puts on Huge Amount of Weight Ismael Barroso - Never Too Late to Arrive Video: Hopkins Sounds Off on State of Boxing, Mayweather, More Video: Canelo Slams Gennady Golovkin, Talks Khan Clash De La Hoya: To Those Who Know Boxing - Khan is HUGE Favorite Video: Bernard Hopkins Details The Need For Golovkin vs. Kovalev Amir Khan Will Not Rule Out Fighting Gennady Golovkin Next WBC President Outlines Canelo/Golovkin/Khan Title Resolution De La Hoya on Khan: I'm Actually Nervous For Canelo Video: Canelo vs. Khan Final Press Conference De La Hoya: I Won't Vote Trump, He Cheated Me in Golf Video: Bernard Hopkins Tells Golovkin To Follow His Lead Jose Benavidez-Francisco Santana in Play For Crawford-Postol Khan: If Trump Wins, Might Be Last Fight For Me, Canelo at MGM Photos: Canelo, Khan Face To Face at Final Presser Breazeale Warns Joshua: Prepare For War, I'll Be Guns Blazing Broner Describes Troubles Making Weight For Theophane Fight Canelo To Golovkin: Earn Your Shot, Work Your Way Up! Joshua: “Showtime is three or four years ahead of the game” Hopkins: No Excuses, Golovkin Should Fight Kovalev! Joshua To Breazeale: Back Up Talk, Don't Be Like Other Americans Adrien Broner Voting for Trump: He’ll Lower My Taxes Hughie Fury Set To Return on Fury-Klitschko Rematch Bill, July 9 Video: Anthony Joshua Pumped For Breazeale Title Defense Video: Breazeale Confident Anthony Joshua is Going To Sleep Video: Joshua, Breazeale Go Face To Face and Trade Words Video: Joshua, Breazeale, SHO Press Conference Highlights Khan: I Won't Run For 12, I Will Stand and Trade With Canelo TMT Adds Gavril, Rakhmanov To ShoBox Card on May 13th Photos: Anthony Johsua, Dominic Breazeale Tense Face To Face Amir Khan: I Think It's Great To Be The Underdog Barroso's Adviser: If Crolla Tries To Trade, He Will Get KO'd Quickly Showtime Inks Anthony Joshua To Multi-Fight Deal Anthony Joshua's Promoter Plots Out Next Fights After Breazeale Butler vs. Kokeitgym Title Eliminator Set for June 4 Canelo Doubts Khan Will Switch Style, Create a Boring Fight Gassiev's Promoter Rates Povetkin's Chances WIth Wilder Crolla: There Are Questions, I'll Find Out How Good Barroso Is Nathan Cleverly To Feature On Burns-Di Rocco Bill Mike Mollo Faces Rudenko in Odessa; SES 6/4 Card Shapes Up
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement