James Kirkland-Brian Vera - Vera Looking To Upset Another Major Talent

by James Slater - One of boxing's hottest up-and-coming stars of the future makes an appearance on November 22nd's Hatton Vs. Malignaggi card. Unbeaten light-middleweight talent James Kirkland, the 24-year-old southpaw with the 23-0(20) pro record, will take on the once-beaten and 26-year-old Brian Vera, currently 16-1(10)..

Vera, in his last fight, back in March, went up against another "sure thing," and upset the odds in a big way. Stopping the highly touted, Emanuel Steward-trained, Andy Lee in 7 rounds, Vera made a promising fighter look very ordinary. The question is, can Vera do the same thing again against the hard-hitting Kirkland? It sure as hell won't be easy, that's for sure.

One look at Kirkland's numbers lets you know straight away he is a puncher. Only three men have heard the final bell in a fight with him, and his last four bouts have ended in 2 rounds or less. And Kirkland has not been fed a series of soft touches, either. Eromosele Albert was 21-1 before being dispatched inside a round, Allen Conyers, who scored a knockdown of his own before losing in a wild 1st round, was 11-2 going in, and in his most recent fight, this past September, Kirkland took out the 22-2-1 Ricardo Cortes in 2 rounds. Only the capable and savvy Ossie Duran, the tough guy from Ghana, has been able to last the distance with Kirkland in the last five-and-a-half years.

Without a doubt, this southpaw is a prospective future world champion at either 154 or 160 pounds (November's fight, according to BoxRec, will be held at middleweight). But, despite how good Kirkland is, it's unlikely Vera will be overawed come November 22nd. A former participant in "The Contender" TV show, Vera also has that great win over Lee to his name. He proved against Irishman Lee that he can handle southpaws, and he also sucked it up and came through some rough patches. The worrying thing is the fact that Vera was stopped in just 2 rounds by Jaidon Codrington, during his "Contender" adventure. Codrington is a hard puncher, so there's no disgrace in Vera having been stopped by him, but Kirkland will surely feel he can do a similar job.

Vera does have the experience of having fought bigger guys, with some of his bouts having taken place as high as super-middleweight. Still, at age 24, Kirkland is probably growing into a middleweight just fine. A quick KO win for Kirkland cannot be dismissed, and it's almost certain he will come out fast as he looks for one. Vera will give it his best and will no doubt be ready to meet his man in mid-ring. It just seems the younger man's power will get him his 24th win and his 21st stoppage.

It could be wild and highly exciting while it lasts, but I go for a Kirkland win in around 3 or 4 rounds.

Article posted on 14.11.2008

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