Kirkland’s Back in the Zone

By Ted Sares on December 8, 2013
Kirkland’s Back in the Zone
The fight was a risky one, much like the classic versus Angulo. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Under the tutelage of savvy Ann Wolfe and promotion of 50 Cent, the Mandingo Warrior bludgeoned and battered Glen Tapia…

“You took his nuts, now you gotta take his heart.”—Ann Wolfe

“The sixth round was particularly bad for Tapia and one additional power punch from Kirkland after Smoger intervened to call a halt left the young fighter disconnected from his senses. In typical fashion, Smoger hugged onto the vanquished warrior and planted a kiss of consolation on the fighter’s neck.”—Derek Bonnett (Seconds Out)

“He was an undefeated fighter, [near his] hometown and you give him every opportunity. I wouldn’t have stopped it without consulting the physician…The next round, anything of magnitude that was enough.”—Steve Smoger

“You’re a great champion. You fought your heart out and it was a war.”—James Kirkland

Under the tutelage of savvy Ann Wolfe and promotion of 50 Cent, the Mandingo Warrior (now 32-1) bludgeoned and battered a too-tough-for-his-own-good Glen Tapia to win a crunching sixth round TKO. It may not have been as pure or artful as Rigo and Lara’s performances last night, but these two put on a brutal display in what may well be a candidate for Fight of the Year.

The fight, a risky one for Mandingo, was much like the Angulo classic of November 5, 2011, except this one had no knockdowns. Tapia, like Angulo, started fast and won the first round, but once James found his incoming rhythm and reverted to his high punching volume, he became that familiar ring monster that simply could not be backed up as he began his dreadful beating on “Jersey Boy” who lost for the first time. Kirkland took command after landing a straight left hand that hurt Tapia with about 1:10 left in the second round. Tapia fought back just enough to allow the beatdown to continue, but soon he was like tonic without gin. His punches, while still sharp, had no impact on the determined Kirkland who was doing what he does best to wit: A non-stop mugging of an increasingly helpless victim.

The fight probably lasted longer than it should have thanks to Glen’s “brave” corner, the gnome-like and increasingly flamboyant Smoger, and the ring doctor Blair Bergen, (who at least examined Glen close up). Some fights cross into the danger zone. This was one of them as Tapia was bloodied, exhausted, and—what’s worse—disoriented after the fight.

The Mandingo Warrior has not fought in 20 months mostly because of legal and promotional issues, but with this win, he has re-established himself as one of boxing’s most fan-friendly brawlers. More to the point, he adds a strong dose of gin to the already well-mixed middleweight tonic, and visions of a Kirkland vs. Canelo or Cotto fight are thirst quenching indeed, not to mention the straw that stirs the drink, GGG.

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  1. From Facebook 09:25am, 12/10/2013

    “Glen Tapia is a true warrior there no quit in him he was willing to die he has my kinda heart he’s the kind of kid I work with in my nonprofit we use boxing as an avenue to stay off the street to go to school to be a man or women to be somebody my hat off to him I could see in his eyes he wants it to be more than just the kid from Jersey I don’t know Glen but I can feel what his after the same thing JK is after and every other person who put that leather on we want ppl to understand we are different we all kinda crazy but we different than other ppl we are warriors willing to die for what we believe in!”

    Ann Wolfe

  2. Larry Link 05:54pm, 12/09/2013

  3. Ted 02:48pm, 12/09/2013

    That would be sweet for him and Ann. She lives modestly and loves boxing. Anything that could enhance her gym , etc. would be great.  I also would love to see her take on a few other well-known fighters.

  4. Tex Hassler 01:07pm, 12/09/2013

    Glad to see Kirkland pull off a much needed win. Now possibly he can make some money in a title fight.

  5. Ted 09:55am, 12/09/2013

    Anne is an American original. If I could put her sayings into a book, I’d have a best seller. have ever encountered in boxing. She pulls no punches. Love her!

    I agree about Mandingo. He is tenacious. Never stops coming. Never gives up.

    BTW, How is the weather in Boston?

  6. dollarbond 09:35am, 12/09/2013

    Nicely done Ted.  this guy is an animal.  there is something I like about him.  Maybe its tenacity.  I love Ann Wolfe.  I follow her on Facebook and she is an American original.  This was a great fight to watch for someone like me who is not a rabid fan.

  7. Ted 09:08am, 12/09/2013

    Agreed Jim. Good post. Same Prov. Smoger must go.

  8. Jim Crue 07:03am, 12/09/2013

    Smoger is over the hill or given his weight maybe part of the hill.
    Kirkland is exciting, think Ralph Tiger Jones, but as soon as he meets a boxer who has a stiff jab and does not get tired by the second round he’s in trouble.
    Tapia had the bravest corner I have seen in a long time.
    One of the worst/best things that has happened to boxing is the hand held camera. Great for the viewers but the way the fighters and their corner men play to the camera makes me ill. I call it the “Ali syndrome”. Ali started the trash talk BS and throwing his arms in the air when he had an opponent down or out. It’s far worse now than when he did it and he was after all, Ali.  The great fighters of old did their business and walked back to the corner. No BS, no nonsense.
    And OH, it was good to see a fight without having to listen to Michael Buffer. He makes boxing sound like wrestling.

  9. Don from Prov 06:54am, 12/09/2013

    Well, with the right fighters, Kirkland is not doubt a monster—

    And Smoger was no doubt too slow in stopping the fight.
    Hope the kid is okay.

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:32pm, 12/08/2013

    Valerie Mahfood TKOd Ann Wolfe in three….Wolfe later decisioned Mahfood twice. Laila Ali fought Mahfood twice and TKOd her both times….here’s what I’m thinking….Ann may believe Laila ducked her but if that is in fact the case, she should be grateful for the snub because if she had hooked up with Ali and Laila had KOd her that snarly, nasty act wouldn’t carry quite as well.

  11. Ted 07:47pm, 12/08/2013

    Latin Mass!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Clarence George 05:59pm, 12/08/2013

    I’m the one with the tongue hanging out, Ted.  When it comes to napping, it’s either complete abandon…or nothing.

  13. Ted 05:08pm, 12/08/2013

    As did Robert Green and Toby Gillis.

    Mitch was a superb ref.

  14. John aka L.L. Cool John 04:41pm, 12/08/2013

    I can’t comment on the fight, because I didn’t see it. However, regarding referees, I always considered the late Mitch Halpern to be one of the best. Sadly, due to personal problems, he ended his life.

  15. Ted 03:34pm, 12/08/2013

    Jesus H. Christ Clarence!


  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:09pm, 12/08/2013

    GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!....TOM BRADY!....finally an athlete worth every penny he’s paid! You can have your chippy Laras and Rigos….if they’re the future of boxing we might as well pack it in!

  17. Clarence George 01:42pm, 12/08/2013

    What gross impertinence, not to mention ingratitude.  Yes, I was at Mass this morning, but not at St. Pat’s, as they don’t offer the Latin Mass.  No, the delay was in getting the film developed by a bleary-eyed FFC.  You may recall, Irish (despite the large number of Sidecars consumed), that we went over to Sofia Vergara’s to watch the fights.  The following film of the two of us was taken either during Lara-Trout or Rigondeaux-Agbeko:

  18. dollarbond 01:40pm, 12/08/2013

    Superb last paragraph

  19. Ted 01:17pm, 12/08/2013

    Irish, Bienvenue

  20. Ted 01:16pm, 12/08/2013

    nicolas , my sense is that they will go for the biggest payday they can get as soon as they can get it. I think Cotto fits the bill quite nicely. Quillin and the two you mentioned would not want any part of James. The legal stuff has been resolved. With 50 Cent , Pops, and Anne,  Kirkland is now poised to make serious money but he probably would be well served to stay away from GGG IMO. Canelo and/or Cotto are BIG paydays for him.

  21. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:15pm, 12/08/2013

    Ted Sares- Thanks!

  22. Ted 01:11pm, 12/08/2013

    Irish, CG might be in confession and that might explain the duration.

    As for the Ishida blow-out, my thinking is that he got stunned early and felt helpless in there and Ishida then jumped on him . It was an anomaly though James IS a notorious slow starter and the very best time to catch him is early in the first round. Once he finds his mojo, however, he becomes a monster who simply will not be denied.

    Hope this helps.

  23. From Facebook 01:08pm, 12/08/2013

    They had to take Glen to the hospital our prayers are with him he a true warrior.”

    Ann Wolfe

  24. nicolas 01:02pm, 12/08/2013

    I felt the same way about Smoger in this fight. he caused Tapia to be hurt more by that last punch. He probably would have better served Tapia better had he gotten behind Kirkland, and pulled him off. At the same time though, I somewhat question Kirkland if he just decided to land a cheap shot on Tapia. I really don’t think that Kirkland will go very far, even with Ann Wolfe. Didn’t he have some dispute with her and was having some kind of lawsuit against her? Here is also a man who had a chance to fight Canelo Alvarez, and backed out. they better go for some title, and that would be the best chance he has, against someone like Andrade. Molina, might want to call out Kirkland, as he might have revenge on his mind. I really think that if Kirkland fights a sharp boer with better punching skills than Tapia, he will get stopped again.

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:02pm, 12/08/2013

    Ted Sares-I need help on this one….really… please decode the Ishida blow out for me….please! Also where the heck is Clarence George….I’m guessing he attended high mass at the cathedral this morning….but how long does that take anyway?.

  26. Ted 12:52pm, 12/08/2013

    Well yes, Kid, that about sums it up. When fighters cannot depend on a ref for protection, that is not a good thing.

    SS is only 63 so he shroud lose some weight

  27. kid vegas 12:40pm, 12/08/2013

    That referee allowed a fighter to take a deadly blow because he was too fat and slow and short to move in and stop the slaughter.

  28. Ted 12:08pm, 12/08/2013

    great coaching Instructions ever between rounds 4 & 5

    “Fux that Nigga!...this Yo destiny…You go out there and whup his muthfux’n azz,...Ann J Wolfe”...

    Ann is an American original and a great woman and trainer,

    She had James prepared for WAR

  29. the thresher 11:49am, 12/08/2013

    To use Smoger after the Hopkins v Murat fight is unreal. What was the commissioner thinking?

  30. Ted 11:39am, 12/08/2013

    Pete the Sneak and Irish have the beat

  31. Pete The Sneak 11:37am, 12/08/2013

    That was almost a tragedy. What the hell was Smoger doing? You give a guy a chance to get killed cause “He’s fighting in his hometown?”. That dude needs to get out of the sport, and quickly…Tapia showed tremendous grit and determination and I truly hope this fight has not ruined him….As for Kirkland, if you decide to fight him on the ropes instead of in the middle of the ring, yeah, you are entering his comfort zone, and that is where he does his damage…Trust me, Cotto will not be looking to fight James anytime soon. High risk and little reward. Canelo? Yeah, I can see that fight re-materializing. I saw on the Showtime telecast that he (Canelo) has an upcoming fight shortly, but I think the opponent, unless I’m wrong is TBD. So we’ll see where all this goes after Canelo’s fight; but I said it before and I’ll say it again, having a rampaging James Kirkland fighting is good for boxing and intensifies the opportunities for some wonderful upcoming matchups..GGG anyone?...Smoger…Time to GTFO…Peace.

  32. Ted 11:35am, 12/08/2013

    I am, but Gin goes better with tonic.

  33. BIG WALTER 11:28am, 12/08/2013

    Ted, I thought you were Vodka fan

  34. Your Name 11:17am, 12/08/2013

    You would think after the Mago tragedy that these guys would be more circumspect. Only the doctor showed appropriate concern and even he was a bit tentative. Use the flashlight and look into the eyes. Hold up some fingers and ask “how many?

    But most importantly, do what Tony Weeks recently did and push the corner men out of the way and ask the fighter if he is ok. No response. Fight over!!!!!!!!!! Dock also handle the GGG-Steven fight quite well. He took charge and did not have to wait on the doctors.

    Smoger allowed Pawel to continue with a hideously closed eye without consulting the doctors but stopped Margo against Cotto by going to the doctors to protect his own hide. Political BS in plain sight and every decent referee knows what SS is doing out there.  The real question is why does he continue to get such plum fights and paydays in the face of such dangerous incompetence?

  35. Your Name 11:06am, 12/08/2013

    Same thing happened to Roy Jones. SS should retire. And what was that eye opening act at the beginning of the fight after he gave the instructions. The fights are not about Smoger; they are about the fighters.

    Andre, you are bang on.

  36. andrew 10:58am, 12/08/2013

    Mr. Irish, I agree one hundred percent with your summary of the fight and I wish there was an outcry and consequences for the dangerously inept refereeing you so aptly describe. The tubby little showman was directly responsible for a damaging punch to an already beaten fighter who had stopped resisting, naively thinking the referee was competent enough to protect him.

  37. Thresher 10:50am, 12/08/2013

    Smoger is too fat and slow. He needs to retire before someone really gets hurt badly ion there. That last shot was a free one and just might have damaged Tapia going forward.

    SS is the most overrated referee in boxing and this is his second terrible one in a row. People are now starting to catch on to just how bad he is.

  38. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:06am, 12/08/2013

    Ted Sares-Tapia appeared to deplete his entire energy reserve in the first two minutes of the first round….from then on he seemed to be running on fumes and pushing his punches at best….. it was not a war of attrition as some are suggesting… was a merciless beating. Little wonder that Wolf has castration on her mind when referring to a brave but beaten young fighter….which reminds me….Smoger should have put his bloated carcass in between the fighters at the end instead of pinning Tapia back with his forearm to set up that shitty last free shot. If these refs are so fearful of getting hit they shouldn’t be there….period..

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