Hammer-fisted junior middleweight James Kirkland informed RingTV.com on Monday of his desire to face either IBF beltholder Cornelius Bundrage or WBC titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez once he has completed rehabilitation from recent surgery to repair tears in his right shoulder.
Serious talks have taken place for a September 15 bout between Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 knockouts) and Kirkland (31-1, 27 KOs) should Alvarez get beyond a clash with former champ Shane Mosley on the Cotto-Mayweather undercard on May 5, according to Kirkland’s co-manager, Michael Miller.
Kirkland’s other possible target, Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs), has a mandatory defense against ex-beltholder Cory Spinks in June.
Kirkland underwent surgery on his jab arm early last week to repair two tears suffered during his controversial 10th-round disqualification victory over Carlos Molina on March 24.
Molina was the latest bout in which Kirkland has faced adversity, following his first-round knockout loss to Nobuhiro Ishida in April of 2011 and his come-from-behind, sixth-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo in November.
“It was really painful, but I had to pull through. So I was able to hold on. So that’s what I did. So I got the win, and I got this out of the way.”
On his past three fights, bouncing back from the Ishida, overcoming the adversity of the first-round knockdown against Angulo, and the shoulder injury against Molina:
“You know, I’m a 100 percent warrior, and I will just keep coming and keep on coming. Now, I’m in a position where I’m in position to fight for a world title. So you’re going to see a totally different Kirkland.
“That’s what I want to show and shed light on. This is going to be one of these unbelievable situations. In my next fight, I’m going to make what people might believe should be a hard fight look easy.
“I’m going to make it a totally easy fight. There are a lot of things that I need to to do make that happen and there are a lot of things that we didn’t do.
“As far as in the training camp, there are things that I know that I’m going to be able to do that I haven’t in the past.
“I’m going to master it. I’m going to be faster, stronger and lighter on my feet. My movement, the whole nine yards.”
On who he wants to fight next:
“I’m enjoying myself at 154, but I think that I could be a lot faster and a lot stronger and have less problems losing that extra weight if I was at 160.
“I’m making 154 with no problems, but I’m up for whatever. My plan right now is to take some belts at 154, and then jump up to 160 and really rock it, because I’m super fast at 154.
“So imagine what I would be like at 160, without having to drain or stress my body to get down those extra six pounds.
“Plus, I would be eating a lot better. I will be talking to a lot of people about my diet and my exercise before my next upcoming fight.”
On when he believes that he can return to the ring:
“I’m not going to jump the gun. I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize my future, because this is how I make my money.
So I’m not going to jeopardize anything by saying, ‘let me take this fight too early,’ because my fans or my people say it. I know that we need to make this money.
“But I know that I need to do what it takes as far as what James Kirkland needs to do to rehabilitate himself to the fullest, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. I’m going to stand on that.
“If they say that I’ve got to fight in September, and my arm is not ready in September, then it’s not ready in September. Or they may say in October, and if it’s not ready in October, then it’s not ready in October..
“Right now, they’re telling me that I need to take three weeks without doing nothing, and three-to-four months of rehab.
“Then, from there on, I can make that move as far as getting myself back into shape and getting everyting the way that it’s supposed to be as far as my training. So it all depends on that and the time that there is between getting my arm back and my next fight.”
Photos by Jon Elits, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com