By Rick Reeno

The year is still young but the wheels are already rolling for the tentative return of junior middleweight contender James Kirkland. BoxingScene.com was advised by Kirkland's co-manager and personal attorney, Michael Miller, that an August return is very possible. Last September during a federal hearing in Texas, Kirkland was sentenced to a 24 month prison term for illegally purchasing a firearm during the month of April. At the time of the arrest, Kirkland was still on probation for a 2003 armed robbery offense, which prohibits him from purchasing and/or possessing firearms.

When Kirkland was hit with the 24-month sentence, the court shaved off 6 months for time already served. Under the federal guidelines, he was able to shave off an additional 100 days for good behavior.

On June 28, Kirkland will get transfered to a half-way house to finish the remaining six months of the sentence. Kirkland will be allowed to leave the half-way house from 7am to 7pm to train. With prior notice given, Kirkland can leave the half-way house to fight - and that includes taking a fight outisde of Texas.

During his prison stay, Kirkland's weight shot up. At one point he weighed 205-pounds. It took a few months for Kirkland, 25, to get himself back in shape. Miller saw Kirkland around the Thanksgiving holiday and said his fighter was now weighing 174-pounds and his body looked good. Golden Boy Promotions is calling Miller on a regular basis to check on Kirkland's status. They are very eager to bring him back.

"[Kirkland will return] probably in the middle of August. He will take a warm-up fight in August and maybe a bigger fight in October or November," Miller told BoxingScene.com