Who doesn’t love a good fight? A great bout can announce the arrival of a new star, turn a star into a legend or simply entertain a thrilled audience. And let’s be clear here… 2013 was a great year for fights. The hardest part of compiling this list was thinking about what to leave out rather than looking for bouts to put in and there are number of contests that likely deserve at least an honorable mention only to find themselves excluded because I didn’t want to list dozens of contests.
6 November 2003: James Kirkland smashes an overmatched Russell Jordan in a round, improving to 11-0. The 19 year old former National Golden Gloves finalist is considered a great talent and one to keep an eye on.
Later in 2003: James Kirkland is arrested for his participation in an armed robbery and is sentenced to jail time. His boxing career is put on hold for two and a half years.
7 March 2009: James Kirkland blasts his way through gatekeeper Joel Julio, forcing him to quit in six rounds to set up a seemingly inevitable title shot. Since returning to boxing in 2006, Kirkland is 14-0 with 13 stoppages. Promoted by Golden Boy he has been heavily featured on TV and is one of the names to watch in boxing.
23 September 2009: James Kirkland is sentenced to two years in prison following an April arrest for possession of a firearm when a convicted felon.
5 March 2011: James Kirkland returns to boxing, flattening Ahsandi Gibbs in a single round. With a new trainer and team around him Golden Boy intend to keep James Kirkland busy on his way to a title shot.
5 November 2011: Having won a couple of keep busy bouts in the interim, James Kirkland is selected as an opponent for Alfredo Angulo and his return to boxing. Travelling to Mexico few give Kirkland a chance but with his old trainer back in his corner he comes back from a first round knockdown to score one of his own (part of a clear round of the year candidate) and proceeds to give Angulo a beating before stopping him in six rounds. Kirkland follows this win by beating spoiler Carlos Molina in an awkward bout to keep his hopes of a title shot alive.
17 August 2012: James Kirkland accuses his team of drugging him prior to the Molina bout. He then threatens to sue Golden Boy, his trainer and his management and puts the first steps into motion of doing so. His career stalls for 18 months. In that time he is also arrested for assault.
7 December 2013: James Kirkland returns to boxing once again, brutalising the fairly well regarded Glen Tapia to a sixth round stoppage.