James Kirkland wasn't ready for Canelo - that's Ann Wolfe's synopsis of what occurred on Saturday. In fact, many of us knew from the second that Ann Wolfe wasn't going to be Kirkland's trainer that he had little-to-no chance to win. And this is coming from a big Kirkland supporter! I really love to watch him fight. His decision-making, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. Ann Wolfe tells TMZ that Kirkland made an egregious error in judgement by taking the Canelo fight coming off of 17-month layoff.
"He would have needed to have at least 3 'warm up fights' before stepping in the ring with Alvarez," said Wolfe.
Despite not speaking to James after the fight, Wolfe says that she's still uncertain as to why she didn't get the call from Kirkland to train him for the biggest fight of his career, but that "he will have to live with his decision." Wolfe then says that she still called James' mother to make sure that he was okay after the fight.
Circling back to decision-making, I'm not sure any of us will ever understand why Kirkland left Wolfe for the biggest fight of his career. Sure, he said he had to learn some things that Ann couldn't teach him, and I could at least fathom that rationale, but he then goes on to hire a completely unknown trainer in Rick Morones. Now forgive me if it's just my ignorance speaking, but Morones certainly didn't appear to be able to teach Kirkland anything that Wolfe couldn't -- in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in boxing circles who've ever even heard of the guy before. It's pretty clear that he wasn't some kind of boxing monk working out of the seclusion of San Antonio...
I'm not saying that with Ann Wolfe in the corner that Kirkland would've definitely won the fight, but thinking about the whole situation makes me think of a couple of relevant quotes. The first comes from Terry Bradshaw when he was talking about hisdays as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those unfamiliar with Bradshaw, he was a bit erratic under center, but would tell his teammates before big games, "hey - you might lose with me, but you can't win without me." This is an almost perfect description of Wolfe and Kirkland's relationship. Yes, James was always vulnerable due to his crude and aggressive style, but with Ann Wolfe he would seemingly always overcome his limitations. With Ann Wolfe he might've still lost, but without her he really didn't stand a chance.
The second quote that came to mind after watching the fight was something my father used to always tell me, "you've gotta dance with who you came with." This seems like another perfect metaphor in this instance. Kirkland built his brand as being an unstoppable force under the guidance of Wolfe, and then parlayed that reputation into the big dance. But when senior prom finally arrived, he left his date for the awkward, acne-filled, junior high school girl that was sitting alone in the corner (metaphorically speaking, of course). How she even got into senior prom, I have no idea, but sometimes attempting to rationalize the irrational only provides a headache. I can only hope that Kirkland isn't now damaged goods and that 50 Cent is able to reunite Kirkland and Wolfe for another run.