The Boxing Amusement Park



James Kirkland:
So promising,
yet so wasteful

By Rizwaan Zahid
of The Boxing Amusement Park

James Kirkland in March knocked out Joel Julio in a firefight in which both men had been dazed and tested. Kirkland withstood the onslaught and battered Julio till his corner put a stop to the carnage after the sixth round.
 It seemed as if the United States had found another gem: a naturally strong fighter who can slug with the best of them, and as evidenced through this fight, could take a punch just as heavy.
Although he was not invincible, many wondered how he would fare against the top fighters in the division. Paul Williams, Daniel Santos, Cory Spinks, Sergio Martinez, and Alfredo Angulo, among others, were at the top at the time, and with the exception of Santos, who suffered a crushing defeat on the undercard of the Cotto-Pacquiao card against Yuri Foreman, these fighters are still at the top of the division. Paul Williams has moved up to  middleweight, but heís expected to shift back between 154 and 160. Kirkland was expected to fight the best of the best soon enough.
Now, Kirkland is serving an 18-month stint in jail for possession of a firearm by a felon. No one knows just how good the fighter will be upon his release -- if he decides to return to boxing. He may be able to resurrect his career, but he may be another fighter of wasted potential.
Sadly, this isnít the first time Kirklandís career was halted with a stint in prison. In 2003, just 19 at the time, he was sentenced to 30 months in jail for armed robbery, a sentence that  took two and half years out of his career. Ike Ibeabuchi and Mike Tyson are well-known examples boxers whose careers were killed by prison sentences. To his credit Tyson still had major fights and titles after his prison layoff, but he was nowhere near the destructive force he had been. Ibeabuchi was the first fighter to knock out Chris Byrd and was undefeated at the time he was sentenced to prison, much like Kirkland.
There have been too many fighters who have had the potential to be multi-weight world champions, but instead have filled the stereotype of a boxer, with multiple prison sentences and convictions for violence, drugs and robberies outside of the ring. James Kirkland could become merely another stereotypical fighter. Potential, ruined by stupidity.

Contact Rizwaan Zahid

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Rizwaan Zahid

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rizwaan Zahid is in his senior year at Carleton University in Ottawa, pursuing his Mass Communications degree, with the future aspirations of becoming a professional sports journalist.
Although relatively young, Rizwaan has shown his passion of writing the beautiful sport of boxing and has worked with Bragging Rights Corner, Boxing Banter, Diamond Boxing,, East Side Boxing as well as The Fight Network for over three years. With, Rizwaan has been awarded the feature article of the month numerous times.
Over these past few years, Rizwaan has interviewed and conducted conferences with fighters and trainers such as Jeff Mayweather, Jermaine Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Jackie Kallen, Wayne McCullough, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitsckho and Emmanuel Steward.

Although boxing has been his main focus over the years, Rizwaan still has a strong passion for many other sports and has covered various sports in The Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper.
Rizwaan has also worked with PHASE 1 Basketball, a camp based out of Toronto which is a showcase for the best basketball Canada has to offer on various levels, as well as the Out of Left Field blog which attracts numerous readers daily.

Rizwaan Zahid hopes to continue his efforts in journalism in the world of sports.
Contact Rizwaan