James Kirkland Offered February 18 Return Date on HBO: Who Are the Potential Opponents?

James Kirkland could be back on February 18. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

With his star back on the rise and the fighter arguably hotter a commodity than ever before, HBO appears interested in capitalizing on James Kirkland's rugged November 5 beatdown of Alfredo Angulo by getting him back on the network in short order. Steve Kim says that Kirkland has been offered a February 18 return date by the network.

Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO) looked like the monster of old in Mexico against Angulo, coming out guns blazing with a like-minded opponent. Kirkland survived a first-round knockdown and an attempt by Angulo to close the show, exhibiting unlikely poise on the defensive before turning the fight around on Angulo and flooring the Mexican before the first round ended.

[ Related: Kirkland Hammers Angulo in Six ]

From there on, it was the James Kirkland show. Until the fight was mercifully halted at 1:58 of the sixth round, Kirkland put a severe beating on Angulo, who had nothing left in the tank and couldn't mount much of a resistance.

Who could Kirkland fight in February? It won't be Canelo Alvarez, probably, unless Golden Boy makes a hard right turn on what they've been doing. You can probably count out Top Rank guys, since that standoff appears to be back on.

The best fight out there for Kirkland, which requires a risk taken on both sides, would be Austin Trout. Both of them still have something to prove and it would be a big win for either man, and it would be a title fight of sorts since Trout holds the "regular" WBA title. Other titlists are Cornelius Bundrage, who isn't doing much of anything but would be a fun matchup, and Zaurbek Baysangurov. The Cotto-Margarito winner will hold the WBA's "super belt," and Canelo holds the WBC title.

With the exception of a total stiff for an opponent, though, it's going to be must-see TV for boxing fans. Kirkland doesn't have bad fights because he doesn't know how.

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