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Kirkland to fight on undercard of Khan-Judah on 7/23

James KirklandBy Dan Ambrose: James Kirkland (28-1, 25 KO’s) will be fighting on the undercard of the Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah bout on July 23 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kirkland is trying to get his career back together after being stopped in the 1st round last April by Nubuhiro Ishida.

Kirkland looked flabby and weak-chinned in that fight, and he looked a lot better in coming back to stop little known opponent Dennis Sharpe on June 24th in a 2nd round knockout victory. Kirkland looked better but was still wide open to getting hit. The difference between that fight and the Ishida loss was that Sharpe wasn’t as fast as Ishida and wasn’t unloading on Kirkland with a flurry of shots. Sharpe was still able to hit Kirkland with great frequency, and showed that Kirkland may still be the same fighter that Ishida so easily beat.

Kirkland still looks pretty mediocre. The problem with Kirkland is that he doesn’t have the chin to match his brawling style. With his weak chin, he needs to become more of a boxer/puncher instead of a just a pure puncher. He may not be getting the drift yet, but he will when he gets knocked out again. If Kirkland never figures it out that he needs to make wholesale changes to his fighting style then he’ll just wind up as a journeyman with a poor record against quality opposition.

There’s still no word who will go up against Kirkland on July 23, but after Kirkland’s performance against Ishida you can bet that Kirkland won’t be put in with anyone with a pulse in the near future. He has too much to work out with his defense and needs to show that he can defend himself properly before they start putting him in with better fighters again.

Kirkland would obviously like nothing better to get back in the ring with Ishida to try and avenge the loss, but I see the exact same thing happening to Kirkland if they were to throw him back in with the fast Japanese fighter.

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