A bout billed as a fight fan’s true main event instead marked the end of the once-promising career of James Kirkland.
Juan Macias Montiel was far too game for the occasion, overwhelming the 36-year old Kirkland en route to a 1st round knockout Saturday evening at Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles, California. Kirkland was floored three times, the latter of which forced referee Jerry Cantu to stop the contest at 1:56 of round one.
The bout was an intended make-up call for Kirkland, fighting for the third time since returning to the ring last August following more than four years inactive. The 36-year old from Austin, Texas was due to face Marcos Hernandez this past March, only for the bout to get canceled on the spot due to the initial wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
There is no telling what would have come of that night, though nothing about Kirkland’s appearance on Saturday evening suggested he had anything left for the long haul.
Montiel—the nephew of the legenadary former champ Fernando Montiel—exploited his opponent’s current state, connecting with a left hook which floored Kirkland barely 0:30 into the opening round. Kirkland beat the count but boasted horrible balance and had already drawn the concern of the third main. Montiel continued on the attack, with the Los Mochis, Mexico-bred knockout artist pinning the southpaw along the ropes and unloading with power shots in once again forcing him to the canvas.
There was a point during the mandatory eight count and subsequent safety check where Cantu considered stopping the contest. He would have been well within his right, though the decision became easier to make seconds later. Kirkland was once again sent to the canvas, this time with the fight halted on the spot.
Montiel advances to 22-4-2 (22KOs) with the win, his first since a 4th round stoppage of Marco Reyes last February. It also marked his first win on U.S. soil, as he was held to a 10-round draw by Hugo Centeno last December at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
The end of the line has arrived for Kirkland, who falls to 34-3 (30KOs). Once upon a time one of the sport’s most entertaining ring warriors, the all-offense southpaw no longer boasts the ability to beat his opponent to the punch nor does he possess the balance or punch resistance justify continuing his career.
The bout aired the chief support to a 10-round super middleweight clash between David Morrell (3-0, 2KOs) and Mike Gavronski (26-3-1, 16KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox