This Saturday, December 7, 2013, on HBO Boxing, hard charging James Kirkland returns to the ring to take on undefeated up-and-comer, Glen Tapia in Atlantic City, NJ.
After almost two years in limbo, Kirkland will attempt to get back in the game against a very hungry and very busy Tapia who is going into his fifth fight in 2013.
James Kirkland–who was once regarded as HBO’s next superstar–has not had a professional fight since March of 2012 when he won a controversial DQ decision over current 154-pound champion, Carlos Molina.
After being dominated for most of the fight, Kirkland was able to connect with a hard shot that dropped Molina for the first time, late in the 10th round.
However the fight would be stopped by DQ when Molina’s corner entered the ring before the end of the round unknowingly.
Prior to this, Kirkland was on the road to redemption after losing his only professional fight by shocking first-round knockout at the hands of Nobuhiro Ishida.
Photo by Will Hart/HBO Boxing
After that bout Kirkland would then redeem his reputation by knocking out the always tough, Alfredo Angulo in a fight of the year candidate where both men hit the canvas and where Kirkland was able to weather the early storm and win in emphatic fashion.
Many ups-and-downs have occurred in the life James Kirkland, inside and outside the ring as well. Turbulent times outside of the ring include issues with promoters, trainers, management and a couple of arrests.
These events have played a big role in Kirkland’s inactivity. However, now signed to new promoter, rap mogul, 50 cent, James Kirkland looks to regain the momentum he once had a few years ago when he was crushing everyone that was put in front of him.
Glen Tapia is the man that now stands in his way. The 23-year-old Tapia of New Jersey, is an undefeated fighter who has looked excellent in all four of his fights in 2013.
Photo by Peter Amador/Top Rank
Though this is a huge step in competition for Tapia, he is no pushover.
In one corner, we have one fighter looking to regain the spotlight that was once shining bright above him, and in the other corner, lies another fighter who looks to make this fight his coming out party for the stacked 154-pound division.
This one is a tough fight to call. Even if James Kirkland was active in the past year and a half, I would still think it’s a hard fight to predict.
I’m guessing that Kirkland would be the betting mans choice to win over Tapia due to the fact that he is the better known fighter, but I’m going to go against the grain on this one.
I feel the inactivity of Kirkland will play a factor against a busy and hungry Tapia.
My official prediction is going to be Glen Tapia via split decision over James Kirkland. May the best man win.
Header photo by Peter Amador/Top Rank