Monday, May 29, 2023  |


Weekend Review: Kirkland’s night

Fighters Network


James Kirkland: The more he wins, the more intriguing he becomes. His Mike Tyson-like aggressiveness and power, under which capable and tough Joel Julio crumbled on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif., is exciting and painfully effective. His record – 25-0, 22 knockouts against increasingly good opposition – is clear evidence of how dangerous he is. It will be great fun watching him fight – as long as he lasts.


James Kirkland: Kirkland will – we repeat, WILL – get knocked out eventually as a result of his style. We got a glimpse of what to expect when he fought Allen Conyers in 2007. Kirkland was stunned and knocked down by two hard rights before turning the tide and stopping Conyers. And Julio demonstrated that Kirkland is open to rights. Kirkland has Tyson's style but not necessarily his chin. And even Tyson was ultimately KO’d.


Cameron Dunkin: Kirkland’s manager said he doesn’t want to rush his fighter because of his defensive deficiencies. Junior middleweight titleholders Vernon Forrest and Daniel Santos have been mentioned as possible opponents this year but Kirkland will have to wait until he refines his skills. “Not yet,” Dunkin said. “He did well against Julio and put on a great show for the fans, but he’s still getting hit too much.”


Robert Guerrero: Did Guerrero quit unnecessarily against Daud Yordan on Saturday night? Tough call. No one will doubt that he had difficulty seeing because of blood in his right eye, the result of a bad cut caused by a head butt. At the same time, fighters have waged war with cuts at least as bad. He would’ve shown his warrior spirit had he continued. Either way, the Gilroy, Calif., resident had to be disappointed because he was fighting in front of the hometown fans in nearby San Jose. The fight ended in a no-decision.


Victor Ortiz: Of the three young fighters on Saturday’s card in San Jose, Kirkland, Guerrero and Ortiz, Ortiz, the most-complete of the them, probably will go the furthest. We can’t read too much into a 4-minute, 27-second fight but Ortiz looked scary. He landed a crushing left to Mike Arnaoutis’ head, which knocked him back to the ropes, and followed with a flurry against the ropes that ended the fight in a flash. And remember: Arnaoutis is a good fighter who had never been stopped.


Eloy Perez: The Salinas, Calif. junior lightweight stopped Gabe Garcia in the final round of a four-round fight on the non-televised portion of the San Jose card. Perez (13-0-2, three KOs) is an extremely talented all-around fighter with the exception of his power. If he could punch, my colleague Doug Fischer said, he'd be one of the top prospects in the sport.


Delvin Rodriguez: The welterweight contender complained after the eighth round of his fight against Shamone Alvarez on Friday that he thought he broke his right wrist. So he used his left almost exclusively in the ninth and took control of the fight. He soon started throwing rights again, one of which put Alvarez down in the 11th to clinch a unanimous decision.


Demetrius Andrade vs. Tom Joseph: The matchmaker who put together this fight on the ESPN2 show Friday night should be ashamed of himself. Joseph, although gutsy, could barely defend himself against a fighter of Andrade’s ability. Andrade could handle a fighter with some ability, win and use the experience to grow as a fighter, as television analyst Teddy Atlas pointed out. As it was, it was waste of time and an insult to boxing fans.


Paul Nave: The one-time fringe welterweight contender from upscale Marin County, Calif., now 48, hadn’t fought in more than nine years when he faced Mikhall Lyubarsky on Friday in San Rafael but won a unanimous decision in a four-round junior middleweight fight. He even put Lyubarsky down in the final round. Nave (16-8-2, seven KOs) is best known for three fights against Greg Haugen in the 1990s. Nave won one, lost one and the last was a no-contest. He ran for Governor of California during the recall of 2003. He lost that one.


Robert Guerrero: “This sucks.” Guerrero was disappointed that his fight in front of hometown fans ended prematurely.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]