Kirkland crushes Angulo; Quillin stops McEwan

By John G. Thompson: James "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO's) from Austin, Texas and Alfredo "Perro" Angulo (20-2, 17 KO's) from Mexicali, Mexico put on a thrilling show for the boxing fans at Centro de Cancun in the beautiful resort town of Cancun, Mexico on HBO Championship Boxing. The first round alone will certainly be the round of the year, and the fight itself is one fans will remember..

Both Angulo and Kirkland each had just one loss on their records prior to tonight's match-up. Angulo's loss came at the hands of a former world champion Kermit Cintron in a comprehensive twelve round unanimous decision in May of 2009. Since then, the 2004 Mexican Olympian (he lost in the first round to "Irish" Andy Lee) won five straight, all by stoppage, Angulo’s last two bouts ending in just the first round. His wins came against some respectable opposition in Joachim Alcine, Joel Julio, Harry Joe Yorgey (then undefeated), and Gabriel Rosado.

Whereas Angulo was completely outclassed by Cintron, Kirkland's loss was somewhat more devastating, coming in the form of a first round knockout at the hands of the light-fisted Nobuhiro Ishida (who has just eight knockouts in thirty one bouts) in April. In that short match Kirkland had been down three times before the stoppage. Kirkland went to prison in 2009 for about a year on a weapons possession charge. After his release, he had two fights, both in March (a first and a second round knockout) before the loss to Ishida. Staying busy, Kirkland has already fought twice since then (in June and less than a month later in July) scoring a first and a second round knockout.

Ringside commentator Max Kellerman prophetically said before the first bell, “For as long as it lasts, this should be good.” Kirkland started the first round backing Angulo up with hard hooks, but just thirty seconds into the match Angulo caught Kirkland flush with a counter right which sent Kirkland to the canvas. His eyes looked glazed though he got up at the count of two. Angulo went on the attack. Kirkland landed an uppercut as Angulo came at him, but Angulo just kept coming throwing with both hands. As Kirkland’s back hit the ropes Angulo landed a series of right hooks to the head backing Kirkland across the ring. Angulo relentlessly kept him against the ropes with shot after shot. After a hard uppercut Kirkland again stumbled across the ring with Angulo close on his heels. Angulo’s constant punching kept Kirkland from being able to hold, even though a lot of Angulo’s punches were missing. The referee looked close to stopping it in the first.

Then with still a minute left in the first round, Angulo suddenly looked punched out and tired. Suddenly the fight changed as the southpaw Kirkland landed an uppercut and a big left which sent Angulo backwards. This time Kirkland came forward throwing hooks, backing Angulo to the ropes. Kirkland popped Angulo’s head back with a hard left and Kirkland backed Angulo into a corner. Kirkland landed blow after blow until Angulo went down for the first time in his career. Angulo was up by the count of three and the referee gave him plenty of time while determining if he should continue. The bell rang before the action could continue. I gave the round to Kirkland.

Angulo did not have his feet back in the start of the second round as both men started trading. A left-right-left by Kirkland sent Angulo stumbling and Kirkland went after him. The crowd in Mexico chanted, “Perro! Perro!” to cheer up their local fighter, but Angulo could only hold onto Kirkland. Finally as Angulo switched to the southpaw stance and landed a few body shots he seemed to get his legs back to some degree. Kirkland forced Angulo to the ropes again and landed a combination to the face, but Angulo came back with a combo of his own before the bell.

The third round was somewhat closer with both men trading, though Kirkland seemed to be landing the harder punches. Towards the end of the round Kirkland’s attack started to slow, as he began to box more. Both men came out firing in the fourth though, until Angulo stopped fighting and motioned at the referee. Kirkland tried to make him pay for failing to defend himself, but the referee stepped in to stop the action so that Angulo could get a mouthpiece. Kirkland looked the stronger of the two as the action continued and guest analyst Roy Jones, Jr. said, “The problem is right now I don’t even see Angulo as having the strength to drop Kirkland right now.” Roy Jones was referring to how tired Angulo looked and the lack of pop on his punches. As Kirkland landed more hard shots to the head, Kellerman commented, “I mean the chin that these guys are showing; the ability to absorb punishment… is amazing!”

Kirkland looked sharp in the fifth as both men traded blows. Angulo landed a good left hook but Kirkland kept attacking, coming after Angulo. Angulo landed a weak left and right to Kirkland’s face and Kirkland taunted him, pretending to be hurt. Kirkland backed Angulo to the ropes again and landed a hard left hook to the head before working the body. Max Kellerman said something true, “No one loses in this fight, Jim. Both their stocks rise I think no matter what happens here.” Kirkland kept peppering Angulo with shots that snapped his head back over and over as Angulo’s back leaned on the ropes at the start of the sixth round and right away Referee John Callas stepped in to stop the match. Though Angulo was not necessarily out on his feet, he was taking a lot of punishment and the stoppage seemed just.

In the undercard Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (26-0, 20 KO's) from Grand Rapids, Michigan and now living in Brooklyn, New York took a big step in the middleweight division outclassing and stopping Craig McEwan (19-2, 10 KO's) in the sixth round, although it appeared to be a premature stoppage. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, McEwan had been living in Hollywood, California training with Freddie Roach until recently, and is now back in Scotland. His only loss, a tenth round TKO, came in his last bout in March against Andy Lee. Despite only eight amateur bouts, Quillin has racked up an impressive and unblemished record in quick time. This is his fourth bout of 2011. His last bout in July was a fifth round TKO, and he has won four straight by stoppage including a third round TKO of Jessie Brinkley in April.

Quillin was clearly in control from the start. McEwan kept coming at him, occasionally walking into Quillin’s punches. McEwan did his best work when he was able to back Quillin into the ropes and then land some shots while pressing his head and chest into Quillin. By the end of the fourth round, however, McEwan’s face was bloody and his right eye swelling badly due the accumulation of punches and a few accidental headbutts.

In the sixth, Quillin caught McEwan with a great left hook as McEwan was coming forward to throw a punch. Quillin moved out of the way, connecting with a right as McEwan stumbled forward into a corner. Referee Manolo Alcocer immediately stepped in to stop the bout, drawing an argument from McEwan. The stoppage seemed far too quick for my taste. Ringside commentator Max Kellerman said, “\McEwan could have continued, but the referee I think felt he was defenseless and Quillin was about to tee off. I don’t have huge problem with that, even though it was obviously premature.”

Article posted on 06.11.2011

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