James Kirkland Off Pacquiao-Hatton Card Due To Incarceration

by James Slater - One of the most promising and exciting up-and-coming contenders in the sport today, unbeaten light-middleweight contender James Kirkland of Austin, Texas may be looking at the end of his career. Currently being held in prison due to a federal gun charge, the 25-year-old is definitely not now fighting on the big May 2nd Manny Pacquaiao Vs. Ricky Hatton bill in Las Vegas..

As was reported by various sources earlier this week, Kirkland was arrested in Austin this past Sunday, when police allegedly found a loaded gun in his car. Kirkland was arrested and charged with being a convicted felon who was illegally holding a gun and ammunition (Kirkland was previously convicted of a 2003 armed robbery). Reports say the maximum sentence for this crime is ten years. Kirkland, who will be detained in prison until an as yet unknown date, will appeal in court.

The 25-0(22) contender was scheduled to face Michael Walker on May 2nd, and then, providing he won, Kirkland was in line to fight WBO light-middleweight champ Sergiy Dzinziruk later in the year. Now, if the worst come to the worst, Kirkland will see all this go up in smoke and boxing will see one of its most thrilling talents go to waste.

Speaking to Ring magazine on-line, Kirkland's promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy, explained how he tried to save the fighter's May 2nd date.

"We did what we could," Schaefer said. "We even submitted a letter to the court suggesting we'd assign an off-duty police officer to stay with James at all times. We had even selected an officer. The court wasn't moved, though. They won't let him travel.

"The fact is he got caught buying a gun with his own I.D. He didn't use it, he didn't threaten anybody, he didn't shoot anybody, but he bought a gun. He shouldn't have done that. That was a really bad decision on his part."

It was indeed. Just why Kirkland chose to buy the gun in a mystery. Now, with all his fistic talent on the verge of being rendered useless, the power punching 154-pounder is in danger of becoming another Mike Tyson or Ike Ibeabuchi - two other superb fighters who saw their careers either come to an end or be derailed for a number of years due to their being incarcerated.

Kirkland once told this writer in a telephone interview that without boxing he'd, "probably be dead or in jail," and that boxing, "saved" him. Now one of his worst fears has been realised.
Schaefer, however, has not given up on Kirkland yet.

"We'll see what happens," Schaefer told Ring magazine. "Hopefully he'll get through this. We'll definitely have him move from Austin. And I would have him sit down and have a serious conversation with Bernard Hopkins (who, of course, served time in jail), to make some changes in his life. Look how Bernard's life turned out. That'll mean more to James than hearing it from me or you."

According to Ring on-line, Kirkland may be replaced on May 2nd by another unbeaten talent in the 15-0 (14) super-middleweight Daniel Jacobs.

Article posted on 26.04.2009

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