Seven months after a stunning TKO-1 loss, James Kirkland tries to get his reputation back tonight against Alfredo Angulo. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Our own Kory Kitchen put it best the other day in his preview, linked in the box below: Great fights don't require great fighters. Take a look at two of the leading Fight of the Year candidates from this year and you can see that for yourself: Pornsawan Porpramook vs Akira Yaegashi, and Pawel Wolak vs Delvin Rodriguez. Not a great fighter among that bunch. But two great, great fights. And we don't even have to get into history, where this has been proven time and again, notably in recent times by the famous Gatti vs Ward trilogy.
James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo may not be great fighters. They're not flawless. But this has action written all over it, no matter how long it lasts.
Bad Left Hook will have round-by-round coverage of the card tonight, courtesy Andrew Fruman.
Fight time: 10:15 p.m. EDT
Location: Centro de Cancun - Cancun, Mexico
TV channel: HBO (United States), Sky Sports (United Kingdom)
Odds: On the books, Angulo is the favorite at -285 (Bodog), -280 (5Dimes) and -260 (SBG Global), with Kirkland an underdog with lines of +225, +240, and +180, respectively. The vast majority of boxing writers and those within the sport are picking Angulo in this one. I've seen very few Kirkland picks in the media.
Bad Left Hook Preview: Kory Kitchen's Bad Left Hook debut on Wednesday previewed the bout.
The HBO co-feature is a 10-round middleweight attraction between Peter Quillin (25-0, 19 KO) and Craig McEwan (19-1, 10 KO). Both have spent time over the years training with Freddie Roach. Though Roach is a bit busy with that Manny Pacquiao fellow right now (not to mention Amir Khan), he has given Quillin some work and some advice, with Quillin training at the Wild Card. McEwan left the Wild Card earlier this year, following his loss to Andy Lee in March, which was a hell of a fight.
It's the type of step up Quillin needs to close 2011, which has been sort of his bounce-back year into relevance. Injuries sidelined what was once one of the better American prospects out there, but now he's starting to cook once again, and at 28, he knows he's got to get into gear. McEwan, a 29-year-old southpaw now training back home in the United Kingdom, is in a make-or-break sort of position, too. Two straight losses will take him out of the running for legitimate title contention.
Not televised will be 26-year-old, 6'7" former American Olympian and 2008 bronze medalist Deontay Wilder (18-0, 18 KO). Wilder's laughable slate of opponents so far has made him a bit of a punching bag in the boxing media, and he appears to many to lack any real future star qualities other than his size, his promoter (Golden Boy), and the fact that he's an American heavyweight with an Olympic background. This will be his first fight outside of the United States as a pro. He faces Daniel Cota (17-3-1, 10 KO), whose record is flat empty and not what it appears to be just from looking at the numbers.