Earlier today, James Kirkland pulled out of his September 15 date with Canelo Alvarez, with his team and the fighter claiming that his surgically repaired shoulder wasn't going to be good to go in time for the bout. Now, though, it appears as though money may be the real issue.
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com says via Twitter that Kirkland won't fight for the "close to $1 million" he was being offered for the bout, but "would be OK enough" if he received $2.5 million. Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer says Kirkland has a "new adviser" who told him to ask for the higher purse.
The fight may still happen, but it would seem pretty wild indeed if Kirkland were paid $2.5 million for this fight. That would be a lot of money for the B-side of a B-level pay-per-view. Actually, it would be more than Victor Ortiz made last year to fight Floyd Mayweather.
Kirkland (31-1, 27 KO) does have some ability to hold GBP over the fire here, at least in theory. There are few opponents out there who can be matched with Canelo but leave Canelo as the firm favorite, too, and potentially sell a pay-per-view well enough to make the profits Golden Boy will want to bring home on the bout.
There are other options -- Erislandy Lara, Carlos Quintana, Vanes Martirosyan so long as we're living in Azeroth or wherever -- but none of them have Kirkland's HBO-propelled name value. Lara is a dud draw, Quintana would be living on the fact that he's Puerto Rican, and Martirosyan is in the same boat as Lara.
I guess I could get all up in arms about this idea, but I don't know. This is a "business" right? Kirkland would be making a business decision if these rumors are true. As far as I know, this fight was never signed, just agreed to by both sides. Kirkland's team may have changed their mind.
We'll have more if more develops. This could also just be a bargaining stance. $1M may not be as high as GBP will go, and $2.5M may not be as low as Kirkland will go. Perhaps there's a nice middle ground for this fight to get done.