“When you think you can’t go on, and you keep persevering anyway…”
That was what Max Kellerman said about the fierce Junior Middleweight contender James Kirkland after he destroyed the heavily favored Alfredo Angulo in November of 2011. Kirkland, a contender resembling Iron Mike Tyson via his puncher style and ensemble, inspired Kellerman. But it was a different type of inspiration. It was not the rags to riches type of inspiration as seen in Manny Pacquiao. Nor it is Bernard Hopkins being the oldest champion in boxing history at the age of 49. And it is not the inspiration seen in Ruben “Hurricane” Carter after spending almost 20 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder. No, this is a different kind of inspiration. What James Kirkland had was hard work, dedication, and most of all grit. The question is, will he have enough of it to defeat the Mexican icon, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez?
On Kirkland’s training with a female trainer Ann Wolfe
Kirkland was trained by Ann Wolfe. A no nonsense trainer, that will tell you like it is faster than her slapping you upside the head. She that has broken through barriers by being one of the most respected boxing trainers in boxing today. To be a female boxing trainer is not common. To be one of the most respected boxing trainers who happens to be female, is unheard of. But she did it. And James Kirkland is the proof. Wolfe’s training methods were very unorthodox. She would have Kirkland running and hitting a heavy bag as it hung from a truck. She would have Kirkland sparring in a significantly smaller, makeshift ring with men almost 20 to 30 pounds heavier than him. She would also have Kirkland running with heavy chains wrapped around him.
The hard work is inspiring. The hard work showed incredible grit displayed by Kirkland on numerous professional bouts he had with Wolfe in his corner. The man was on his way to greatness and the woman was on her way to being the first female professional boxing trainer to win a world title. That was until it was no longer.
Wolfe not working with Kirkland for Canelo fight
Kirkland left Wolfe and decided to hire a new trainer, Rick Morones, for the upcoming bout against the former WBC Junior Middleweight champion of the world. Kirkland then went on to say he had problems in the business side of boxing and blamed Wolfe for his performance against Carlos Molina. Kirkland claiming she gave him pills before the fight that made him feel like he was “high as a kite.” Is it true? Only Wolfe and Kirkland know the answer to that question.
Alvarez has fought the best in his weight class during Kirkland’s 2 year stint of inactivity, including Floyd Mayweather Jr. Alvarez is a powerful boxer who has tremendous skill. Although he himself has been inactive for 10 months. Will Kirkland have enough grit to get through “Canelo?” I believe without Wolf and the inactivity, Kirkland will fall short and get knocked out inside of eight rounds.
There is something to be said about a trainer you trust to be in your corner in what of the biggest fights in your career. To hear the sound of his/her voice, pushing you, motivating you. The desire of not wanting to let him/her down. Will Morones be that trainer for Kirkland? We shall see. But one thing is for sure. It is not going to be Mayweather versus Pacquiao. It will not cost you $100. In fact, it is going to be the opposite. It is going to be a barn burner.