At the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, top junior middleweight and middleweight contender James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland snapped more than a four year layoff.
Kirkland (33-2, 29 KOs) demolished Colby Courter (13-15, 10 KOs) in the first round. Courter went down three times before the contest was waved off.
The contest was the first for Kirkland since getting knocked out in dramatic fashion at the hands of then junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May of 2015. Kirkland was down three times before the fight was stopped in the third round.
Kirkland, who is 35-years-old, has had a career filled with stints of inactivity and legal issues.
Kirkland saw action six times in 2011 - the year he suffered his first career defeat at the hands of Nobuhiro Ishida. And the year he secured a dramatic knockout of Alfredo Angulo in Mexico.
Kirkland only saw action once in 2012, when he bagged a DQ win over Carlos Molina, and then only once in 2013, when he knocked out Glen Tapia. Both fights were carried by HBO.
He was then off from December 2013 to May of 2015, when Canelo knocked him out.
In what was a bad idea from the start, Kirkland was booked to face Miguel Cotto in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View card in February 2017. A few weeks before the fight, the contest was canceled, due to a nasal fracture suffered by Kirkland. But industry insiders had their doubts about the injury, and felt the contest was called off because the event was doing poorly and the actual pay-per-view was also expected to bomb.