Roc Nation Sports announced moments ago that James Kirkland has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled February 25 pay-per-view matchup against Miguel Cotto due to injury.
Kirkland reportedly suffered a fractured nose in training. The entire card, which also featured junior featherweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux against Moses Flores in the co-main event, has been called off. How much consideration was given to finding a replacement opponent was not disclosed.
The cancellation prolongs the ring inactivity of both main eventers. Cotto last fought in November 2015, losing a competitive 12-round decision to Canelo Alvarez. Kirkland’s last bout was a one-sided, third-round knockout to Alvarez in May 2015.
Roc Nation has promised to refund all tickets purchased for the event.
I hate to speculate, but did anyone else immediately think of Ann Wolfe’s medieval training methods? Sure, we’ve seen fights get canceled from freak injuries like cuts in sparring, but it’s hard not to think Wolfe’s brutal sparring sessions on a shopworn fighter like Kirkland didn’t heighten the possibility of injury. See below from several years ago:
Yes, Kirkland battered him but that kind of sadistic “training” likely had him taking his fair share of lumps this time around, especially coming off a year-plus layoff. Hell, who says Wolfe didn’t do it herself?
We’ll see if Kirkland’s camp decides to elaborate on exactly how the injury occurred.