James Kirkland Stops Alfredo Angulo In Expected Thriller!

By James Slater: Last night in Mexico, light-middleweights James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo delivered as advertised in their expected slugfest. Ahead of the WBC 154-pound eliminator, fans and experts everywhere were predicting a barnburner that could go either way. For once, a fight lived up to the hype!

Kirkland, who really had to win to avoid becoming a fighter with nowhere to go, rose to the challenge in amazing fashion, getting up from a 1st-round knockdown to batter “El Perro” into submission in the 6th. The official time was 2 minutes and one-second of the 6th. “The Mandingo Warrior” is now 30-1(27). Angulo, in being stopped for the first time in his career, fell to 20-2(17).

Kirkland, as is his way, came out smoking in the opener, the powerful but often vulnerable southpaw looking to land his big left hand. It was the perceived tougher, more durable man who scored first blood, however, as Angulo decked Kirkland with a sharp right hand counter to the head. Instantly, fans everywhere has flashbacks to Kirkland’s shocking April loss to Nobuhiro Ishida. Only this time, Kirkland got up and held on.

Angulo made the mistake of becoming a swarmer, wasting a ton of punches. Kirkland was under real fire (with the ref even telling Kirkland he would stop the fight if he didn’t punch back - the referee actually speaking to Kirkland on a number of occasions throughout the fight for some reason), but a lot of Angulo’s shots either missed or were taken on the arms and gloves. Then, in unforgettable fashion, and after allowing Angulo to punch himself out, Kirkland came roaring back and hurt his man!

The tables had turned, and after taking three or four heavy left hands to the head Angulo was the man on the canvas. Then the bell sounded, ending a definite Round Of The Year candidate.

The battle, expected by many to be short and sweet, raged on for a further five-rounds. Kirkland was all over Angulo in the 2nd, with the 29-year-old Mexican warrior looking gassed already. 27-year-old Kirkland was firing out stiff right jabs as well as some nice left uppercuts. Angulo managed to rally off the ropes at the bell. Another excellent round.

Angulo switched to southpaw for a spell in the 3rd, as he had done briefly in the first-round. Having a touch of success, “Perro” was nevertheless feeling the pace, as was Kirkland. This one was now shaping up as a gruelling battle of attrition. They traded heavy shots towards the end of another torrid session, Angulo now bleeding from above his right eye.

Kirkland, an underrated boxer, used his skills in the 4th, totally outclassing an exhausted-looking Angulo. There were heavy, painful shots being landed by the younger man as well, however, and Angulo was starting to take a beating - only his raw courage was keeping him in there.

There was next to nothing on the shots of Angulo in the 5th, his arm punches having little effect on Kirkland. Coming and coming as he was, the Texan was breaking Mexican hearts. Caught by a couple of crisp shots to the head, Kirkland, the supposed “chinny” fighter, faked a wobble and clowned Angulo! Kirkland then punished his man on the ropes with yet more heavy-handed shots. Angulo, busted up and close to all done, was barely hanging on.

The end came swiftly in the 6th, as Kirkland pinned Angulo on the ropes and repeatedly snapped his head back with rights and lefts. The ref had seen enough and dived in. Nobody could possibly question the stoppage.

Kirkland, who came a long way towards silencing those critics who say he is unable to take a punch, is now next in line to face WBC ruler Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Based on last night’s great win, Kirkland has a real shot in that fight.

Article posted on 06.11.2011

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