After agreeing to fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 15, James Kirkland changed his mind, pulling out of the bout less than 24 hours after it was announced - citing a shoulder injury. A day later, Kirkland revealed he would still be willing to take the fight if he was offered a larger purse.
Not surprisingly, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer decided to go a different route, and Canelo will now face former WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in September. Ortiz is currently set to face Josesito Lopez on June 23, and he'll be the favorite going into the fight. However, he'll no longer get to face Canelo if he loses to Lopez.
A Kirkland vs. Alvarez match certainly has potential for fireworks, but I do like the Ortiz-Canelo matchup. Like Kirkland, Ortiz is a heavy-handed boxer, with 22 of his 29 wins coming via KO. Ortiz' boxing skills are also sharper than Kirkland's, and he'll present a much tougher test for Canelo.
Kirkland rubbed some boxing fans the wrong way with his antics, but I can't really hold a grudge against him for trying to get a larger purse. However, he could have handled the negotiations with Golden Boy Promotions a little better.
Kirkland's trainer Ann Wolfe came to his defense during a recent interview with FightHype.com
"He's not 100%, so I told him not to take it for no amount of money," Wolfe said. "Why go into a gun fight with a stick? He's not ready, so I told him just wait, chill out, it'll happen. … James had surgery 6 weeks ago. I put him through hell, so I knew it wasn't go to work... Once he called me and asked what I though, I told him I didn't think it would work. … Why would you go into that that type of fight when you're not 100 percent? … I had the same surgery; you have to take your time. … I am not scared of anyone beating James Kirkland."
Ben Thompson, "Ann Wolfe: 'I told him not to take it for no amount...'"
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.