By James Slater: In a surprising development, exciting southpaw slugger James Kirkland has had his lawyer file a lawsuit against his current promoters Golden Boy and his two trainers, Ann Wolf and Pops Billingsley. The news has been reported by Ringtv.com, and Kirkland, inactive since his poor performance of a DQ win over Carlos Molina (back in March of this year), may well remain on the shelf, tied up with legal wrangling as he tries to part ways with his current team.
Kirkland’s co-manager, Mike Miller, told Ring that he and Cameron Dunkin have “rock-solid” contacts with Kirkland that that no way will he step aside. While Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said that Golden Boy “will protect our interests.”
The real shock is Kirkland wanting to part ways with Wolf (for a second time, Kirkland getting back with his female trainer soon after his crushing upset loss to Nobuhiro Ishida, this fight being Kirkland’s third since being released from prison in Sept. 2010) and Billingsley. Kirkland has been with both trainers since he was six (in the case of Billingsley) and since his early teens (in the case of Wolf). Basically, the two knowledgeable trainers have between them made Kirkland the fighter he is.
How well will the powerful yet sometimes vulnerable banger cope without the two trainers he’s known for so long? We saw what happened to Kirkland when he parted ways with Wolf before: he was iced inside a round by the largely unknown Ishida. Wolf told ESB that she wasn’t shocked at all when Ishida TKO’d her former charge:
“It wasn’t a shock to me at all,” Wolf told this writer on the subject of the Ishida fight. “He tried to box against Ishida and he isn’t a boxer. With me in the corner against Ishida – I’d have him in top shape, and I’d have him using more head movement as he gets on his chest. I had two T.V’s next to each other: one of the Ishida fight, the other of the [Dennis] Sharpe fight. And James didn’t throw any shots for near to two-minutes in the Ishida fight. In the Sharpe fight he threw everything.”
So, we have an idea of what can happen when Kirkland tries to fight without the services of Wolf. The loyalty issue aside, how can Kirkland be expected to be able to start all over again with a new trainer, someone who doesn’t have his 100-percent trust and vice versa, at age 28? Sure, someone like an Emanuel Steward or a Freddie Roach would perhaps be able to work well with Kirkland, but I can’t see even these greats doing a better job than Wolf and Billingsley. These three had a chemistry, it’s as simple as that.
And again, it doesn’t look as though Kirkland, for my money THE most exciting fighter around today, will be in action any time soon. Has Kirkland, 31-1(27) committed career suicide?