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James Kirkland Has Shoulder Surgery, Team Wants Canelo, Not Paul Williams

James Kirkland underwent successful shoulder surgery on Monday and his team is hoping to land a fight with Canelo Alvarez this fall. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
James Kirkland underwent successful shoulder surgery on Monday and his team is hoping to land a fight with Canelo Alvarez this fall. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

James Kirkland had what could be described as minor shoulder surgery on Monday, with his right shoulder needing repairs for a couple of small tears, and the hard-hitting junior middleweight contender is expected for now to only need a couple of months of physical therapy, and then should be able to return to the ring and get set for a potential fall return.

About that return, Kirkland's attorney and co-manager Michael Miller says that Golden Boy has reached out for a potential September clash with WBC titleholder Canelo Alvarez -- who first must face Shane Mosley on May 5 on the Mayweather vs Cotto undercard -- but we'll see how serious that is. Another potential opponent, Paul Williams, was shot down by Miller:

"No, we're not going to fight Paul Williams. They can write whatever they want, but he was never in any consideration," said Miller. "His name had come up, but we had turned him down. He's nobody that I'm interested in James fighting."

So let's write whatever we want: This seems suspiciously like Kirkland's team being not interested in James fighting Williams because they think Williams is a risk. And, well, I'd agree.

I'm not crazy about where Paul Williams is at in his career. His February win over Nobuhiro Ishida -- Kirkland's fluky conqueror -- wasn't anything that made me leap out of my seat and say, "By golly, Paul Williams is BACK!" He's still "just" Paul Williams, a good and horribly flawed fighter, and given his struggles against fellow southpaws Sergio Martinez and Erislandy Lara (two very different fighters), you might even suspect that he'd be a sitting duck for a Kirkland left hand.

And I'd expect that, but I'd also expect Kirkland to have plenty of trouble with a tall guy who keeps his hands moving the way Williams does. The last time Kirkland faced a tall, lanky guy, Ishida put him on his ass three times in one minute, 52 seconds, and handed the Austin native his first and to date only loss.

Whether or not Kirkland's struggles with Carlos Molina recently can be attributed much to the shoulder injury is up for debate, I suppose, but that's at least part of the angle Golden Boy wants to push now, with Richard Schaefer claiming most would have quit due to the injury, and going on about "modern day gladiators" and what have you. I don't really know whether that's true, but the gladiator talk always gets me, and not in a good way, so I'll just move on from there.

I guess I would say that I would certainly like to see Williams vs Kirkland, but the other wrinkle is Tall Paul and his team didn't seem itching to take the fight either. After Williams beat Ishida, he was asked on Showtime about various opponents, and when Kirkland's name was mentioned, he did a little dance around the question. For both, the risk-reward might not be worth it. That's how boxing works, unfortunately, and anyway, if we get Canelo-Kirkland (certainly no guarantee), then it doesn't much matter to me, since that's probably as good a fight (at least) and worth more money for Kirkland, so it would be hard to argue.

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