In 2008 and 2009, Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland appeared to be on a collision course -- with the emphasis on collision. They campaigned in the same weight class, they were bombs-away sluggers and at one point they boasted a combined record of 40-0 with 34 knockouts, including 26 in the first three rounds.
But the spring of 2009 proved brutal for both. In April, Kirkland was arrested -- then jailed -- on a weapons charge and the following month Kermit Cintron collared a flu-ridden "El Perro" by decision in a title eliminator. Worse yet, in the fall of 2010 it was discovered that Angulo had entered the U.S. illegally and was returned to his native Mexico.
Each man has since overcome his adversities -- at least in part -- and returned to the ring with mixed results. Since losing to Cintron Angulo has scored five wins, all by knockout, while Kirkland's road has been rockier -- four wins, all by KO, but also a shocking one-round TKO loss to 35-year-old Nobuhiro Ishida sandwiched between the victories.
Will Angulo and Kirkland produce the anticipated fireworks? And if so, who will prevail? Their respective CompuBox histories offer these clues: