“A fight that has knockout written all over it.” A statement declared by the network showcasing the bout, HBO. Sometimes a fight fan will think of the two men’s styles that are suppose to wage such a war and shake his head, this is not such a fight. Alfredo Angulo (20-1 17 KOs), and James Kirkland (29-1 26 KOs), are both assuredly offensive minded fighters. Neither guy ever takes a step backwards, and for James Kirkland that may not be a good thing for him Saturday night. James Kirkland might be going forward against a fighter he wishes to emulate more of, an iron chinned force that continues relentlessly, Alfredo Angulo. There is a good chance that if Kirkland would have continued on his pace in his career he probably would not even be in this fight due to his shocking upset loss earlier this year to Japan’s unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida. Kirkland has found himself in a position where he must fight a tough matchup now, because his record is no longer unscathed. Ishida came into the ring expected to be kayoed within the first round by some, instead he was the man who scored the first round knockout this past April against Kirkland. A fight that was such an upset HBO did not even have an on hand translator for the Japanese speaking Ishida, due to the lack of preparation for such a turn of events. Before the big setback for the Austin Texas native, Kirkland was looked upon as a future World Champion. Now, after losing to Ishida who had already lost six times in his career, Kirkland is going to have to beat Alfredo Angulo to replenish any of those thoughts again. Which is not unfathomable. Kirkland has the faster hands, his record shows he can punch, and he did not have his typical training camp coming into his lone professional defeat. Despite all those factors, Kirkland did indeed get kayoed by Ishida earlier this year who did have six losses and who did only have six knockouts to his professional dossier at the time of their fight. With that in mind, his chances in a slugfest with Angulo would have to be slim. Kirkland does come to slug it out, not to box or have a chess match. It is just that Kirkland is coming to fight against a guy with more dynamite in his hands, and takes bombs better, two essential components of a brawl. This bout is a WBC Junior Middleweight title eliminator, and the champion who possesses the WBC Championship is major ticket seller, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Either fighter would logically welcome a fight with Alvarez because of his marketability and the affection he receives from his countrymen. If Angulo were to win this bout, a fight with Alvarez would make a lot of sense as it would pit two Mexico natives against each other, with exciting styles, for Alvarez’s first big step up in competition. Alfredo Angulo cannot be thinking that way as of now though, because boxing has shown time and time again that an unprepared fighter is a doomed one. One thing is for certain: this fight won’t be going the distance.
If James Kirkland had displayed a knack of fighting off his back foot then he would have a much better shot against Angulo. However, since the Texas born Kirkland never does fight going backwards, one would have to expect him to be coming in ready to slug against Angulo who will be more than happy to oblige him. Despite any rationalizations that can be drawn for the loss that Kirkland suffered, the bottom line is all the same: when a guy with six knockouts and six losses decks you in the first, you are probably not going to make it far against a real puncher. Angulo is there to be hit, and so is Kirkland, so there will be high contact all night long. Despite this, Angulo can absorb the shots better and dish them out with more bone crunching power, so he should be the victor when all is said and done.
Alfredo Angulo via 4th round Knockout.