The crowd was electric with probably about a 90%-10% split for Tapia. Fireworks from as soon as the bell rang. These 2 threw haymakers from the start. Kirkland has some swelling over his eye from the 1st minute of the 1st round. The 2nd round was just as good as the 1st as both threw bombs to the point of where it could be a round of the year candidate. Tapia started to bleed from his right cheek while Kirkland still has a black left eye.
By round 3, this has already solidified itself as now a fight of the year candidate. Both punchers continue to just throw and take some of the hardest shots you will see in the sport. In round 4, Tapia starts to slow down and Kirkland punished him. Tapia’s punches don’t have the same sting, while Kirkland continues to charge forward. After Steve Smoger checked in Tapia’s corner, they come out for yet another round.
Honestly, as they started round 6, you wondered how both fighters still were standing, with no knockdowns. The fight has a Rios-Alvarado 1 and 2 type of feel. Finally, Kirkland trapped him in the corner and punished him to the body and head until Smoger was forced to stop it. You could tell that Tapia was done and it was ended maybe even 5 seconds too late and he took a hard shot at the end that seemed to leave him semi unconscious. James Kirkland has won by TKO in the 6th round.