By Keith Idec
The Glen Tapia-James Kirkland fight appeared to be in jeopardy earlier Monday, but representatives for the combatants came to an agreement on a new weight for what figures to be an action-packed brawl Dec. 7 bout in Atlantic City.
Pat Lynch, Tapia’s co-manager, told BoxingScene.com on Monday night that the contracted weight for the fight, which will be broadcast by HBO, is now a maximum of 156 pounds. The initial deal between Top Rank Inc., Tapia’s promoter, and rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who promotes Kirkland, was for the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds, plus a pound, which would’ve allowed the fighters to weigh in at no more than 155 on Dec. 6.
Jackson wanted to make Kirkland-Tapia at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, presumably because the 29-year-old Kirkland hasn’t fought since March 2012 and has to lose more weight than usual for his return to the ring. Tapia’s handlers wouldn’t go higher than 156 because Tapia, of Passaic, N.J., has been a junior middleweight throughout his five-year pro career and is already taking a risk against one of boxing’s most dangerous punchers.
The 23-year-old Tapia (20-0, 12 KOs) has fought eight times since Kirkland’s last bout, most recently Sept. 28, when Tapia stopped veteran Elco Garcia (27-9, 13 KOs) in the fifth round at Bally’s in Atlantic City.
Kirkland (31-1, 27 KOs), of Austin, Texas, hasn’t boxed since recording a controversial disqualification win against Carlos Molina nearly 19 months ago in Houston. Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs), who has since won the IBF junior middleweight title, was beating Kirkland on two scorecards, but was disqualified when one of his corner men stepped into the ring prior to the conclusion of the 10th round, right after Molina got up from a knockdown.
The Tapia-Kirkland fight will be part of an HBO tripleheader from the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall. Unbeaten Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) is expected to make defenses of his WBA and WBO 122-pound titles against Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko (29-4, 22 KOs) in the 12-round main event. The other televised bout will pit Cleveland’s Willie Nelson (21-1-1, 12 KOs) against England’s Matthew Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight match.
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. Tags: James Kirkland , Glen Tapia , Kirkland-Tapia , Kirkland vs. Tapia