IF KIRKLAND IS HEALTHY, HE IS MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE BY PRICING SELF OUT OF ALVAREZ FIGHT
By John McCormick
Last week, the boxing world suffered a tremendous blow when Paul “The Punisher” Williams was the victim of a near-fatal motorcycle accident. The accident left Williams paralyzed from the waist down and the medical reports say he may never walk again. Williams has kept a bright and positive outlook on the situation. A week before that, it was announced by Golden Boy Promotions that Williams would challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the WBC 154-pound title on September 15th in Las Vegas. But soon after the news of Williams’ accident spread, Golden Boy announced a replacement opponent for Alvarez: James Kirkland.
Kirkland-Alvarez was announced late last week to headline a pay-per-view card for September 15th. It seemed as if an amazing match-up was on the horizon and that Kirkland would finally be getting a crack at a world title after facing a barrage of tough opponents. Not so fast.
Within twenty four hours of announcement, the fight was cancelled, purportedly due to a shoulder injury that Kirkland suffered months ago. According to Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, Kirkland’s manager Cameron Dunkin had contacted Golden Boy to inform them that Kirkland had called him to make him aware that the shoulder was bothering him during a gym session and that he would be unable to train for the Alvarez fight with the injury. Once again, the boxing world was let down and Alvarez was left without an opponent.
However, Kirkland’s shoulder injury might not be the real reason he won't be facing Alvarez. According to a story published by boxingscene.com, Schaefer stated that Kirkland’s shoulder injury excuse was a lie and the real reason Kirkland had pulled out of the fight with Alvarez was that he demanded more money-- a lot more money.
Kirkland was offered a guaranteed purse of $1,000,000, by far the biggest pay day of his career, to face Alvarez and he initially agreed. A few hours later, according to the report, Kirkland abruptly changed his position and demanded a $2,500,000 guaranteed purse to face the undefeated Mexican.
It is understandable that young fighters like Kirkland want to make more money for doing what they do. Going into the ring and putting your life on the line isn’t an easy thing to do and fighters should make a good dollar to do so. But, whoever whispered in Kirkland’s ear in this case is helping Kirkland make a grave mistake. In November, Kirkland stepped into the ring with Alfredo Angulo in a fight-of-the-year candidate. Kirkland went on to destroy Angulo, but got a very lucky win against Carlos Molina when Molina was dubiously disqualified while ahead on points.
Kirkland wanted nothing more than a shot at a world title and last week he was given a shot, despite the bogus win over Molina. Now, it seems as though he has blown that opportunity over some green paper. Cash cows like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao didn’t start making the amount of money that they do overnight. They worked hard at it by giving boxing fans something special time in and time out. Perhaps someday, Kirkland could be in the same spot. But for now he isn’t. The quality of a human’s life is made up of the decisions they make. In this case, Kirkland has made a horrible decision that may come back to bite him more than he may think.
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