James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland was one of the most talked about and feared boxers in the junior middleweight division within the last decade and with good reason. Kirkland’s fierce style of fighting and his punching power made him a must watch fighter. He has a high KO percentage (currently 83%), and fans knew that if they tuned in they were more than likely to see a spectacular stoppage whether it was his opponent or Kirkland himself. Within his 34 fight career, Kirkland has only lost twice, and those losses were from him being knocked down and knocked out.
After the first loss of his career to Nobuhiro Ishida, Kirkland was eager to pick himself up and brush himself off and continue rising towards the top and winning and he did a great job of that after stopping Alfredo Angulo in their firefight but problems outside of the ring would prove to be too much of a distraction. Kirkland would fight only twice more in the following years and split, go back to and split again from his long time trainer Ann Wolfe. Kirkland would also split from his long time promoter Golden Boy Promotions and sign with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s SMS Promotions. The change in promoters did little to no change for Kirkland but he was finally able to get a big money fight that he has long awaited against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez which proved to be a short night for Kirkland as he was knocked out in the third round. How Kirkland will pick himself up from that loss has yet to be seen.
Kirkland was in negotiations to be part of a Golden Boy event in a possible fight with Gabriel Rosado and the two teams had agreed to terms last week but according to Steve Kim the fight will no longer happen due to financial reasons. Kirkland is reportedly unhappy with the money he would be making for the upcoming bout with Rosado, and his future is once again in the air. This is something that Kirkland has done in the past with other fights as well.
James Kirkland is a talented fighter. His defense could use some work but then again so can every other offensive mind fighter. He has all the potential in the world but seems to be his own worst enemy. Time is precious, and he needs to learn not to let it squander and to not let his career hang in limbo.