Bert Sugar on James Kirkland's Return

In one of those feel-good boxing stories, undefeated James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KO’s) continues his comeback after two years in the stir for a parole violation. Coming from East Austin, Texas, where both sides of the track are wrong and where it’s easier to get into trouble than out, Kirkland is getting what he calls “not a second chance, but more like a third chance as far as my criminal background,” and vows to make the most of it. With two quick KO’s in his two comeback fights -- one in 30-plus seconds, the other in two rounds -- the heavy-handed southpaw now faces his sternest test in former junior middleweight champ Nobuhiro Ishida, who has never been stopped. With a win over Ishida, Kirkland stands on the cusp of a title shot by the end of the year and is determined to acquit his lifelong dream of becoming a champion in the near future despite his troubled past.