Boxing

James Kirkland Gives Brian Vera A Brutal Beating, Stops Him In 8th Round

James Kirklandby James Slater - Last night, on the under-card of the Hatton-Malignaggi fight, unbeaten 24-year-old light-middleweight James Kirkland improved his record to 24-0(21) as he brutalised an incredibly brave Brian Vera. Finally getting the stoppage win at 1 minute and 45-seconds of the 8th round, when referee Vic Drakulich decided he'd seen enough and dived in to rescue Vera as he was being pounded in a corner, Kirkland showed again why he is such an exciting prospect.

The southpaw who hails from Austin, Texas, (as does Vera) came out bombing in the opening round, a KO win clearly the only thing on his mind. Guilty of leaving himself open at times in fights, last night's included, this only makes Kirkland more thrilling to watch. And in the later rounds he was caught by a few return shots fired by 26-year-old Vera - one-time conqueror of Andy Lee, of course. Still, it was one way traffic in the 1st round, and the heavy-handed lefty cracked Vera with a smashing left uppercut to the chin, and also a hard left hook to the side of the head. Vera, however, one tough guy, took the shots well.

In the 2nd round Vera was sent to the canvas twice, once at the start of the round, again at the end of the session. A left hand sent the slightly older man down in a corner a few seconds into the round, and Vera got up signalling that the shot had caught him behind the head. Showing guts, Vera then came back with a few good right hands of his own - again, Kirkland does not have the best defence, thinking only about landing his own punches. Down for a second time, Vera was caught by a right hand that sent him spinning around and down. Up smiling, he heard the bell go a few seconds later.

The fight somehow raged on into the 6th round, with Kirkland winning everything but Vera showing incredible gameness. Looking as though he was tiring a little, Kirkland suddenly opened up with an eye-catching burst of heads shots in the 6th. Once again, though, his opponent took the punches well.

A big left hand snapped Vera's head back in the 7th, and it was now becoming too one-sided, if it hadn't been all along. Vera had not won a round and some felt he should have perhaps been pulled out. There was absolutely no quit in the former "Contender" participant. Kirkland, who was slightly swollen around both eyes, had not gone this far in a fight since June of 2007. Vera had a mark up on his forehead, a signal of the hard shots he'd taken.

A big right hand sent Vera to the floor in the 8th, and once again the astonishingly tough Texan got up grinning. The end was not far away now though. With Vera being stuck in a corner taking a number of sickening head shots, Drakulich made his move and called a halt.

It was one-sided and the fight went a lot further than many felt it would going in, but the James Kirkland express train rolls on after having picked up yet another exciting win.

Vera fell to 16-2(10).

Article posted on 22.11.2008



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