Will three times be the charm for James Kirkland? He certainly hopes so.
Twice before the “Mandingo Warrior” has emerged from layoffs of more than two years. Following a one-round KO of Russell Jordan in November 2003, Kirkland returned in April 2006 with a three-round stoppage of 13-11-2 Manny Castillo. Exactly two years after stopping Joel Julio in six, Kirkland blasted out the 10-2 Jhon Berrio in two rounds. On Saturday, 21 months after a controversial DQ win over now-IBF junior middleweight king Carlos Molina, Kirkland begins again – this time against the 20-0 Glen Tapia. A tall order indeed.
With a victory, Tapia vaults himself into the 154-pound title conversation while for Kirkland, perhaps a rematch with Molina is on the horizon, a fight that fans hope will answer the questions the first match should have provided.
Statistical factors that may provide insights into the result include: