James Kirkland's team won't take risks with his shoulder rehab. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Junior middleweight contender and HBO favorite James Kirkland is now targeting a return to the ring in October, as he and his team have decided to pass on a September 15 date with Canelo Alvarez so as to not rush Kirkland back into action. The Texan slugger is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, which he had done after his controversial March 24 win over Carlos Molina in Houston.
Kirkland (31-1, 27 KO) was the led candidate to face Alvarez on pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in September, but now attentions seem focused on a possible fight between the young Mexican superstar and Paul Williams.
Kirkland, 28, is expected to be ready to begin serious sparring in August, which obviously would have left him short on preparation for a fight with Alvarez. It would seem likely that he'd take a tune-up sort of fight upon his return, but you never really know with Kirkland and Ann Wolfe -- they both like taking risks and have said repeatedly they see no need to take easy fights any longer. An injury rehab process may change that for one fight, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Kirkland jump right back into the fire in October, either.
Of course, this is all a ways off, and who knows what fights might look good by then? I think it's a good thing they're playing it safe with the rehab, as much as I did like Canelo-Kirkland on paper.