James concentrates on conditioning and building strength. He brings the fight to you and is aggressive in the ring. The crowd loves the action and I’m excited to make him a part of our team.” – 50 Cent
James Kirkland’s forced sabbatical from boxing will come to a end December 7, as the former junior middleweight contender launches a HBO comeback against Glen Tapia under the banner of 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions.
Kirkland’s fight puts him right back in the national spotlight, coming as part of a HBO triple-header featuring Matthew Macklin vs. Willie Nelson and Guillermo Rigondeaux against Joseph Agbeko.
In Tapia, Kirkland faces an undefeated fighter (20-0, 12 KOs) ranked in the Top 15 by the WBA and IBF. Nonetheless, Kirkland views Tapia as ill-equipped to handle his power and has promised a knockout.
“I had this great opportunity come along with Glen Tapia. He just doesn’t have what comes with knowledge in boxing, but he will know that December 7,” Kirkland vowed. “There are different levels of fighting, as they say in the street, and he hasn’t fought anybody at my level in his 20 fights. I don’t talk too much before a fight but, he doesn’t have to worry about being 21-0, because I’m going to knock his ass out December 7.”
Kirkland’s last fight was a controversial DQ win over Carlos Molina in March 2012. Despite what will be a near 21-month layoff by fight night, Kirkland maintains that he never stopped his intense training regimen even while juggling a pending lawsuit with Golden Boy, and a dosmetic violence charge in this past summer.
“I’ve been working hard since the beginning of my lawsuit. Now that things are in motion, I’m jumping right into the mix,” said Kirkland. “My sparring sessions are like fights for other guys.”
“The proof is in the pudding. All I have to do is put in extra work and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not overlooking him.This is his ‘Mayweather’ fight. He wants to win and be an exciting fighter on HBO…..that’s not going to happen! It all comes down to me boxing at my best; I can beat anybody at 154 pounds or 160, name anybody. Who does what I do? There are a couple of cats at 160 who can put on a great performance but, right now, I’m concentrating on Glen Tapia. Congratulations for him getting this fight but we are at different levels.”
Kirkland’s comeback fight will be aired on HBO live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
December 7 sure has heated up quickly, hasn’t it? We’ll have dueling tripleheaders that night with HBO down in Atlantic City and Showtime holding court in Brooklyn. Both are very good cards, and this fight with Kirkland is likely to be the most explosive and unpredictable.
The Kirkland we remember is likely too much for Tapia, but even that Kirkland was reckless and could be put down (as Nobuhiro Ishida showed). He mentioned as a positive that his sparring is as intense as most people’s fights. That’s not a good thing — if he’s really been doing that without restraint, there’s no telling what type of fighter we’ll see in December.
Kirkland’s been so secluded from the media that we have no idea about his conditioning and habits over the last year and a half. That will make for a 50-50 fight come December.
Now that you’ve digested the news, do you see Kirkland making noise at 154 and 160 pounds? Do you envision guys like Gennady Golovkin and Sergio Martinez in his future?