James Kirkland; Tired of Winning, Drops Ann Wolfe


Fight Saga has reported that James “Mandingo” Kirkland has dropped trainer Ann Wolfe for his upcoming fight against former light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in favor of unheralded trainer Gerald Tucker.

This news should not come as much of a shock to those that have been paying attention to Kirkland’s tumultuous career over the years. Describing James Kirkland as “unpredictable” would be generous.

For those that aren’t familiar; James Kirkland turned professional in 2001. In 2003, he was convicted of armed robbery and spent 30 months in prison. After two and a half years out of the ring, he returned in 2006 and maintained an undefeated record (under Wolfe’s guidance) until a 2009 arrest for possession of a firearm by a felon. Kirkland spent another year in prison and several more months in a halfway house.

He then returned to the ring in 2011 without Wolfe for the first time in a decade. Three fights into this return he was TKO’d by unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida in the first round. Wolfe returned to his corner after the loss and guided him to 5 fight win streak leading up to his upcoming fight with “Canelo”.

Kirkland has never lost a fight under Ann Wolfe’s tutelage but nevertheless, Wolfe is out, and unproven Gerald Tucker is in for the biggest fight of James Kirkland’s career. Apparently, Kirkland needs “some new faces in his corner” per the Fight Saga article. This is the kind of non-answer one can expect to explain away a shake-up as baffling as this one.

Whatever the reason, the record shows that most of the good decisions James Kirkland has made in his boxing career generally involve the addition of Ann Wolfe. Despite their contentious relationship, over the past 13 years she has shown that she can get the best out of “Mandingo”, and now she is out.

We will see if Kirkland made the right decision on May 2nd when he faces Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the biggest fight of his career after an 18-month layoff. If there was ever any doubt who the boss of James Kirkland is, this move is sure to make it perfectly clear.