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Kirkland vs Angulo: Analyzing the War from Cancun

James Kirkland saved his career on Saturday night in Cancun. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
James Kirkland saved his career on Saturday night in Cancun. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
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Kory Kitchen checks in this morning with a running commentary of Saturday's fight between James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo. Go inside his mind! It doesn't have Zelda Fire.

After watching this past Saturday's HBO main event between James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo many random thoughts came to my mind. Here they are about everything from the round of the year to feeling guilty about taking pleasure in someone's pain:

  • Tremendous comeback by Kirkland in that 1st round (easily round of the year). He may not have answered questions about his chin, but there is certainly no doubt about the man's heart.
  • That said, I think that some people are overrating the fight a little bit. The 1st round was pure epic, but the rest of the fight was essentially a one-sided beatdown.
  • Angulo looked very undisciplined completely going for broke in the first round, but I can't really blame him. He thought, like I thought when Kirkland went down, that it would be a quick night.
  • For better or worse, this is why I love boxing so much. Without reducing this to a bickering discussion of other "combat sports", Kirkland likely would not have had a chance to prove his machismo after that knockdown if it had taken place under mma rules. Angulo would have pounced, landed a few vicious head shots while his opponent lay flat, and the referee would pull him off. True, boxing has certainly more long-term health issues due to this, but one doesn't think about long-term health if he becomes a professional fighter.
  • Who else thought Angulo looked like a mirror-image of Juan Manuel Marquez in there? Ok, all jokes aside it probably isn't a bad thing that Angulo is with Nacho Beristein. Hopefully Beristein, easily one of the most respected trainers in the game, can make him a little more disciplined and polished technically. That said, I hope he doesn't try to transform Angulo into a boxer-type after this loss. Angulo is who he is: a rough, aggressive fighter that will beat people by wearing them down and suffocating them via pressure. Panchito Bojado, once a blue-chip prospect many years ago, suffered an upset loss early in his career. He then changed trainers to Floyd Mayweather Sr. Mayweather, the self-proclaimed greatest trainer in the world, attempted to transform Bojado into more of a boxer that moved around the ring and scored from the outside. It didn't work because that was not what Bojado really was. He was a naturally aggressive boxer-puncher (emphasis on the puncher). Mayweather had it in his mind that every boxer could box in the same style as his son or his other famous fighter, Oscar de la Hoya. Angulo is the kind of guy that Steve Kim had in mind when he said, "Thank God for Mexican fighters." Let's keep it that way.
  • Of course, now the question becomes about what's next for both fighters. For Angulo it is likely a little vacation time to rest up his body and brain from the beatdown he received. When he does return I wouldn't be surprised to see a soft touch before he fights another contender.
  • Kirkland is another story. In another example of how just one fight can change so much about the way we view a man (think Victor Ortiz against Andre Berto or, well, Kirkland against Nobuhiro Ishida for the opposite effect), Kirkland's stock has been soaring like Microsoft in the ‘80s. Gabriel Montoya of tweeted that Kirkland is now, "arguably the most marketable black fighter in boxing". Floyd Mayweather may have something to say about that, but that leads directly to my next topic.
  • How wild would it be if Kirkland's next opponent would be "Money May" himself? Granted, the fight would have to happen at 154, and is very unlikely to occur but stranger things have happened. Both are promoted by Golden Boy, and have polar-opposite fighting styles. Style-wise it would be equivalent of Ali-Frazier at junior middleweight. More importantly, it would be Ali-Frazier personality-wise too. In the build-up to the fight, Mayweather would talk a ton of smack and flaunt his riches as is his custom. Kirkland, on the other hand, would be the tough, no-nonsense, hard hat-wearing common man persona.
  • Who would be the biggest star of a Mayweather-Kirkland 24/7? Ann Wolfe. When it comes to soundbites, Wolfe can hang with the best of ‘em. Also, her story is probably even more fascinating than Kirkland's. From being homeless while living under a tree to her won boxing career, her life is a documentary waiting to happen. However, the largest impact of her addition to the series would be the simple fact that she is a female boxing trainer. The mainstream media would have a field day with this.
  • Finally, we shouldn't take pleasure in other people's discomfort, but I get a special kick out of Michael Buffer looking ticked-off about the mic problem.

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