Monday, August 08, 2022  |



James Kirkland vows to prove himself (sans Ann Wolfe) on May 9

Photo by Soobum Im/Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Soobum Im/Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions

I don’t recall the last time so many fans were so impacted by a fighter’s choice of trainer leading in to a fight, when considering who they thought would win.

James Kirkland with Ann Wolfe is apparently, in the eyes and minds of the masses, a different animal than when someone else corners the Texan.

We shall see if that prevailing wisdom is just that on May 9 in Houston, or simply misguided conventional “wisdom” which will be hurled out the window come fight night.

Kirkland, the 31-year-old banger/brawler promoted by 50 Cent, a genuine chin-tester who seeks to remove head from shoulders when he gloves up, will stand across from Canelo Alvarez, a measured sort who most figure has the better base of skills, which should bring him to the win.

Kirkland, he isn’t agreeing…

“I’ve had a helluva training camp,” Kirkland told me in a phoner. “It’s been a super hard camp, and it’s going to be a war. Now, I’m not overlooking Canelo, but I have something to prove to friends, and family on that night. I will be there to make a stand.”

Part of that proof process is showing that, sans Wolfe, he can do the job. When he and the drill sargeant-style tutor, whose tough-love style could tame a pack of pitbulls who hadn’t eaten for three days, split ways a couple years ago, Kirkland suffered. In fact, he took his only loss, to an on-paper lesser figure in Nobuhiro Ishida, when being cornered by someone else. Someone else will in the Kirkland corner come May 9, but he informed me that all will see how he adapts to change vs. Canelo. “I did what I thought necessary for me,” he told me. He said that, in fact, he believes he’s been prepping even harder than usual in this camp. “I’m happy with my training situation, I’m happy here, I’m just focused on May 9.”

It was clear he didn’t want to drill down on the whys. Why did he and Wolfe, who seem to be a good match, at least purely from the perspective of the win-loss thing, part ways? He didn’t want to specify; he allowed that he wanted to add some new stuff to the repertoire, and he feels he’s done that. “The speed, strength, the whole nine, it’s there,” he told me.

And no, he’s not complaining that May 2 has cast a cloud over everything else going on in the boxing world for the past month-plus. “My fight is not lost in the shuffle,” said the man who’s now trained by Rick Morones. “I know what I bring to the table. I will never get lost in the shuffle. This fight will be action packed! I plan on making a statement.”

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