By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – James Kirkland isn’t sweating the contracted catch weight for his fight against Miguel Cotto because he isn’t worried about last-second sweating to shed that extra pound.
Puerto Rico’s Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) demanded that the contract weight for their February 25 fight was lowered to 153 pounds, one beneath boxing’s junior middleweight limit. The 32-year-old Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) hasn’t weighed in at less than 153½ pounds in more than nine years, yet was encouraged by how easily he made weight for his last fight.
Kirkland weighed in at 154½ pounds for his third-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) in May 2015. Though the result wasn’t what he sought, Kirkland said he made the contracted catch weight of 155 pounds so easily that he could’ve gotten down as low as 152 pounds for the Alvarez fight.
“It’s not an issue,” Kirkland told BoxingScene.com about making 153 pounds for the Cotto bout. “The crazy thing is even for my last training camp, the way we got to working and losing weight, it was a perfect situation where I could’ve made 152 if I needed to make that weight. So losing the weight wasn’t even a problem.
“A lot of people make a big deal about it because I’ve had problems making weight in the past. ‘Kirkland has problems making weight at this weight, at that weight.’ To me, it doesn’t make a difference because I’ve learned how to prepare, how to eat and how to do the right things. So my nutrition people are perfect. It’s about knowing how to eat, what to do and how to stay prepared.”
The Austin, Texas, native also came into this camp with demanding trainer Ann Wolfe at a lower weight than usual, even though he hasn’t fought in 19 months. Kirkland has repeatedly said he is a different fighter when Wolfe trains him, but he didn’t work with Wolfe for the Alvarez fight.
“I was lot heavier going into a lot of other training camps,” Kirkland said. “But now, going into this training camp, I was a lot smaller than in the past. At the end of the day, I’m just ready.”
The Cotto-Kirkland clash will headline a four-fight HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast from The Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.