Southpaw junior middleweight James Kirkland is scheduled to receive surgery on Monday to repair two tears in his right shoulder — the jab arm — following Saturday night’s controversial, HBO-televised 10th-round disqualification victory over Carlos Molina at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex., his co-manager and attorney, Michael Miller, told RingTV.com on Wednesday.
Kirkland (30-1-1, 27 knockouts) will be operated on by San Antonio-based general orthopedist, Dr. Philip M. Jacobs, a shoulder and sports medicine specialist who diagnosed Kirkland’s injury following an MRI on Tuesday, according to Miller.
“The MRI was done at an imaging center, but Dr. Jacobs read the MRI and went over it with us. But James has had shoulder issues in the past. I mean, there are times when he can’t lift his arm over his head, it hurts so much,” said Miller.
“And he’s not a complainer. I’ve found out some of these things through his trainer, Ann Wolfe, and some of this through James. He’ll be like, ‘my shoulder hurts, but it’s okay.’ He’s a tough kid.”
Kirkland’s previous fight was November’s come-from-behind, sixth-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo, against whom he was floored 30 seconds into the bout only to drop Angulo just before the bell ending the same round. Angulo was knocked out for the first time in his career.
“I’m not saying that this is an excuse about how he looked, but he wasn’t the James Kirkland who fought Angulo, so let’s get real about that. The doctor said, ‘this is a significant injury,’ asking, ‘how long have you had it?’ James was like, ‘well, when I fought on Saturday night, I didn’t want to complain about it,'” said Miller, adding that Jacobs considered the connection between Kirkland’s ligaments and his shoulder to be “very loose.”
“But you will notice that he didn’t throw many jabs at all against Molina. He was way off,” said Miller. “So this may explain a little bit why he couldn’t keep Molina off of him and why he wasn’t pushing him back and that kind of thing.”
Miller said Jacobs expects Kirkland’s recovery to take “about three months” after the surgery.
“For three weeks, he’s going to do nothing. Then he’ll go through some physical therapy and hopefully back in the gym in three months. Normally, Dr. Jacobs said that recovery takes six months. But he said that the six months is for the people who don’t excercise and who are in horrible shape and who are 68 to 75 years old,” said Miller.
“He said, ‘for someone like you, who is 28 years old and who is great shape and who trains all of the time, I anticipate you being able to train in three months, maybe four at the most.’ The operation sounded like something that needed to be done immediately, so we scheduled it. As a favor to both of us, he’s scheduled it for Monday to get this thing done.”
Molina’s promoter, Leon Margules, president of Warriors Boxing Promotions, has filed an appeal with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation seeking to change Kirkland’s victory over Molina into a “no-contest or a no-decision,” he told RingTV.com on Tuesday.
Referee Jon Schorle disqualified Molina in response to his cornerman briefly hopping into the ring after a round-ending bell sounded almost at the same instant that Kirkland knocked Molina down. The intrusion briefly halted Schorle’s 10-count, which resumed as a standing eight.
In response to the infraction, Schorle directed Molina’s cornerman, Lou Askennette, to leave the ring, held a brief discussion at ringside with commission representative Greg Alvarez and WBC supervisor Craig Hubble, and then turned and waved off the fight.
Kirkland trailed Molina on two of the three judges’ cards at the time, although most observers felt that the one card in Kirkland’s favor was, in itself, controversial.
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org