James Kirkland and Ann Wolfe have likely paired up for the final time, as Kirkland is suing everyone involved in his career and looking for a new start. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
James Kirkland is suing Golden Boy Promotions, trainers Ann Wolfe and Pops Billingsley, and managers Cameron Dunkin and Mike Miller, hoping to get a new start in his pro boxing career that could mean a move to 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather's TMT Promotions.
RingTV.com reports that Kirkland will be represented by attorney Sekou Gary, who managed to get Yuriorkis Gamboa a split from Top Rank and Arena-Box. Here's what Gary said:
"It happened on Thursday and was filed in the federal court in Los Angeles where Golden Boy is incorporated. The suit seeks damages and injunctive relief that would allow him to fight during litigation, and declaratory relief saying that his contract is invalid."
Mike Miller says he's willing to step out, but he's going to have to be bought out, which is basically what happened in the Gamboa case, from my understanding:
"[W]e have got rock-solid contracts with James. If he wants to pay somebody else to do what the four of us are doing, well then, that's fine. I'll go and get some popcorn and watch his fights. But I'll be damned if I'm going step aside. I'm not going to step aside unless somebody's going to buy me out. I think that the four of us feel that way."
From an overall boxing career standpoint, I think this is an incredibly risky move by Kirkland. As Miller goes on to say, the idea that Golden Boy does not have Kirkland's best interests in mind is going to be hard to prove. What would constitute "having his best interests in mind," anyway? Are they just supposed to feed him fluff and watch him win?
Kirkland, like Miller says, had Golden Boy stand by him when he went to jail, when he got stopped in 1:52 by Nobuhiro Ishida, and when he frankly didn't look so great earlier this year against Carlos Molina, though he did get a controversial DQ win in that one.
They offered him a big fight with Canelo Alvarez in September -- you can't ask for much more in the 154-pound division than a fight with Canelo -- and he turned it down once, accepted, and then balked again. He blamed it on an injury, but a lot of people thought it was more about money (Kirkland was being offered good money, by most accounts), and there was already talk then that "someone" was in his ear pushing him toward the decision to not take that fight.
And it was during James' stint without Wolfe in his corner that he was stopped by Ishida, too. He didn't look like himself, certainly didn't train the way he's been brought up in the sport to train, and he lost to a frankly lesser fighter, and lost in pretty stunning, even embarrassing fashion. This is a remarkably bold move by the fighter and the people advising him to go this way, and frankly, it runs a really high risk of bombing even if they do get what they think they want.
Kirkland now seeks to be freed from everyone. And he'll probably get his wish eventually, with the concerned parties being bought out the most likely end to this, whenever it does end.