WBO and NABO light middleweight champion James the "Mandingo Warrior," James Kirkland, will fight Japanese boxer Nobuhiro Ishida tonight at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kirkland (27-0, 24 KOs), an ex-convict from Austin, Texas, is a southpaw prizefighter with surreal power and unlimited potential in the squared circle.
Unfortunately, Kirkland is an enormous liability outside of the ring that has spent more than three years in the pen for armed robbery and various other offenses.
Kirkland, 27, told SortsIllustrated.cnn.com about the toll incarceration took on him.
"Basically your dreams are all shattered," recalled Kirkland, who compiled an amateur record of 134-12. "You're hurting physically, you're hurting mentally, spiritually. Everything is just like a sore thumb. Everything about you is just gone. You lose not just access to the boxing, you lose access to your family, your loved ones, the people that really care about you, people that have been backing you up for many years."
Kirkland trained hard in the slammer and subsequently in the halfway house he was shipped to following his release.
"I learned a few things as far as eating right, as far as water weight, the whole nine," Kirkland said. "Once you learn that, it gives you a better thing of knowledge and everything is easy."
Ishida (22-6-2, 7 KOs) has feathery fists and he has zero chance to trump Kirkland later this evening.
Kirkland seems genuinely intent on bettering himself and becoming the prizefighter he is capable of.
“As far as being a world champion, I'm going to be dedicated to that,” claimed Kirkland. “I know it's going to happen. I just have to wait my time. I fell off by doing something stupid, and now this is a positive thing because I'm glad I went through the situation and got to see everybody for who they were and who was really for [me]. I'm not going to let nothing take me from my dream."
Kirkland may not exactly be an accomplished English major.
However, James Kirkland is a force in the squared circle and he will knock Ishida onto Queer Street within seven rounds in approximately six hours.