"I'm full-time. This is what I do all day long; I'm in the gym. Now I have people coming up there, watching, and trying to figure out what Kirkland is looking forward to getting. I'm looking forward to getting a shot. I've been sitting out for 9 months. Shit, who wants it...All I can say is, man, people that are calling me out, I have no one sending me any type of contracts or saying, "Kirkland, you wanna fight this or fight that." I have no one doing that. I definitely want to fight...I don't do nothing but box now. I box, spend time with my kids, and keep on moving to another day. I don't be in the mix no more, I don't be in the clubs, it doesn't even matter. I'm one-dimensional now, man. It's just Kirkland boxing, Kirkland home, Kirkland kids, Kirkland home, you know what I mean? That's me. As long as I'm in the ring, that's all I want," stated jr. middleweight contender James Kirkland, who contacted FightHype.com to give us an update on his career, his managerial issues, when he plans on fighting again, and much more. Check it out!
BT: James, what's going on with you, bro?
JK: Hey, what's going on, Ben?
BT: You tell me. I hear you've got some things that you want to get off your chest.
JK: Yeah, man. There's been a lot of rumors going on. Since I fired my team, I'm basically the only one who speaks for myself, you know what I mean? I'm hearing all these different things. "Kirkland turned down $2.5 million." "Kirkland was supposed to fight Alvarez." People don't know...I went to go watch a fight awhile back. It was Bryan Vera vs. Sergio Mora.
BT: The rematch?
JK: Yeah, yeah. I basically went down there to go watch that fight, and after that fight, I've been getting in top shape ever since then. When I heard the rumor that Kirkland is supposed to fight Alvarez, I'm like, "Okay, where's the contract at?" Then they said, "Kirkland turned down this. Kirkland turned down that." I'm like, nah, I never turned down anything.
BT: So what exactly is going on with your situation? I mean, the last time anyone heard anything, you were getting rid of this person, getting rid of that person; there were lawsuits flying around. What exactly is the current status of that whole situation?
JK: I'm basically still dealing with it, you know. As far as the situation with Ann [Wolfe] and the pills that she basically gave me during the Carlos Molina fight, at the time being, you know, you can't really elevate and see where everybody stands on that point because your mind is messed up. You know before you took it, you was 110% ready for the fight, and then after you take it, you're 45% and you're like, "Something's not right." At the end of the day, when I looked at the situation and really analyzed it, I said, "Hey, what does Ann Wolfe gain by me losing a fight?" The more money that I make should be more money that she makes, you know. So maybe, she gave me the pills to benefit me, but instead of it being a positive reaction, it was a negative, but she don't want to take her responsibility and say, "Hey, you know what? I messed up with Kirkland." That's one of those human nature situations. I learned from it.
BT: So is that relationship totally fractured to where you two don't even speak anymore?
JK: After that fight, I had contacted Ann, texting back and forth, and all I basically said was, "Hey Ann, before you gave me the pills, I was aware of everything. I had the best of my abilities. I was ready for the fight, but after you gave me the pills, I felt in a bad way." My timing was off. I didn't feel myself. I felt like I was high, you know what I'm saying? It felt like everything was moving slow. I basically asked her, "What was it that you gave me?" The thing that she told me was they were vitamins. The type of vitamin that you can basically take was B12, but regardless of whatever she told me it was, I looked at it like, "Damn! Why would she give it to me at this time? We never did that ever." Maybe it was something new, because in training, every day is not the same. One day she may say, "You're gonna do this and it's going to be the hardest workout that you're gonna ever do," and the next day, it be something that overrides what she just said. Ann basically made a bad call that night.
BT: Ann wasn't the only person you decided to part ways with. What exactly happened with your management team?
JK: I had to ask myself, "Kirkland, who's going to look out for you if you're not going to do it? You've been hearing your management team, Cameron Dunkin and Micah Miller, telling you, 'After this fight, and after this fight, and after this fight. No Kirkland, you wasn't listening. It was the fight after the fight, and the fighter after, after, after the fight that you was going to get a big money fight.'" When it all boils down to it, me and Ann haven't spoke after the fight, but I told myself, "Kirkland, you have to really study the game of boxing. You have to learn what type of checks is getting paid, who's the one that's giving them, and you got to learn the whole nine, and if you don't, you're just a performer. You're not a boxer, because you don't know who's giving what and what's supposed to be given." Knowing at the end of the day you have a worth and the fans want to see you, then you have a certain price that you're supposed to pay for that. I sat back and I learned it and I realized that, hey Kirkland, you haven't been getting the best that you're supposed to be getting. I know people at 135 who have a better relationship with Golden Boy than I feel I had, and they was making 2 times as much as I was making.
BT: Did you start to take notice of some of these issues when they first started talking to you about the possibility of fighting Canelo Alvarez?
JK: They had a trick for me. I told myself I'm not going to allow Alvarez to get the edge. They told me it was going to be 5 or 6 months before my arm would be prepared for just regular movement, but 2 months after the surgery, they're like, "Kirkland, Alvarez wants to fight. Are you ready?" Are you serious? They basically told me to fight this dude with one arm. I told them, "You know what? I'd fight Alvarez with one arm. I'd definitely do it, but the price has got to be right." The number that they shot at me was a number that they was getting from some beer commercial; something that was outrageously stupid to even offer me. That's not saying, "Kirkland, you have a worth. Kirkland, you're going to get a PPV fight. Kirkland, this is going to be a main event; something that's going to put you on the top. This is going to be a give or take fight and this is what the people want to see." That's saying, "We're not paying you for that. We're just going to give you whatever the concession stand makes." It's like, get the fuck out of here. I'm a boxer, but at the end of the day, I'm a business man. I'm not going sell myself cheap when I know that the stakes are high and people want to see this. This is something people been talking about like the Alfredo Angulo fight. When I tell people how much money I made for the Alfredo Angulo fight, they say, "Oh my gosh, you were robbed." It's like, hey, where's my team. The team that I'm supposed to have is supposed to go back and negotiate for Kirkland. Where are they at? Are they just looking out for their best interest because they have other fighters that they can put on Golden Boy cards? If they got other fighters, they'll get their percentage and those percentages will add up, and add up, and add up. If Kirkland fights for hardly nothing, at the end of the day, they make twice as much as Kirkland makes when he gets paid.
BT: So basically, you felt like your team wasn't fighting hard enough to get you the kind of money you feel you deserve for the type of all-action performances you give when you fight.
JT: I'll fight anybody at 154. I'm not ducking and dodging anybody, but my team is supposed to set up those fights. They're thinking that I'm sitting back, getting fat as a hat. They're thinking that I'm just, you know, sitting back and not doing nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's hard to stay motivated when you don't know when you're going to fight. I'll fight anybody. I'm not dodging no Trout; I'm not dodging nobody at 154. They know Kirkland is a do or die fighter; he comes straight forward and he's coming to get it. I don't ever knock nobody's ability. I just know I train to do what it takes, you know what I'm saying, to give it, to push it, the motivation, the hard work, the endurance, the determination, the heart; all that's in one package here. You're telling me you ain't going to give me nothing when I'm going out there and I'm doing it for real. I'm not going out there during training camp like, "Should I run 5 miles? I'm just going to run 1 or 2 and maybe tomorrow I'll think about it." Nah, I'm really out here putting in the work, so you're not going to pay me for my worth? You think Kirkland don't know this and he's not smart enough to understand the game of boxing? So now, when I speak up, they ask me who's my source. When I finally speak up and my voice can be heard and I start firing people, they're asking, "Hold on Kirkland! Who's your source? Who are you talking to? Who's telling you these crazy numbers? That's ourageous. Kirkland, don't think that way. Think small! Always think small, Kirkland." Shit, I finally woke up and I let people know.
BT: Do you think those issues are isolated to your managers, or do you feel like your promoter, Golden Boy, is partially responsible?
JK: I honestly feel when it comes to Golden Boy, I have nothing against them. I was asleep. If I know somebody who can make a ton of money and they're supposed to make this, and then if I offer him a dime when he's suppsed to be getting a quarter and he takes the dime, what harm is that in me? He's willing to take a dime and he doesn't know he's supposed to get a quarter, so, you know, if he wants to take it, who's going to be mad at me. He's happy, I'm happy; I get extra money and he's making extra money because the man took nothing for the fight. So everybody eats. Kirkland eats; he's happy with his money. It's like, come on, man. I'm not mad at them. I woke up, and I just feel that, at the end of the day, they should show respect and say, "Hey, you know what? Kirkland woke up. We got to treat him as a business man. We have to treat him like a professional. We can't railroad him." At the end of the day, I'm my own boss. Ann worked for me, Pops worked for me, Miller worked for me, Cameron worked for me; these people worked for me. These are not my bosses. At the end of the day, they felt that they were my bosses.
BT: So I take it a fight with Alvarez is still something that you're hoping for in the near future.
JK: I just want to let Alvarez know, if I have to go to his press conference and do one of Muhammad Ali's things, that's what I plan on doing. I plan on going wherever he's at, making a big ol' show, have my camera man and have people there to put everything on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, whatever needs to be done to make this fight happen. I feel the Angulo fight should've happened a long time ago too.
BT: Angulo's back on the scene now. Have you seen any of his recent fights?
JK: I seen one of his recent fights. He looked good. I really feel that man is a true champion. I feel that I have an edge over him even more than ever, but I feel that he'll beat the majority of fighters that are champions now at 154. He's a sharpshooter, he knows how to bang, and if you put up the pressure, he's willing to dish it out. I give him praise. The dude's good, you know what I'm saying? But when I train and I give my best, I have something over him now that I beat him and I stopped him in the fight; now I have a bigger edge. Now I feel that I can make him think I'ma throw something and the man will shit in his pants. That's just because it's me. Not because it's anybody else; I feel that it's just me. That's just my ability to say that I can do that to him. The next man may get out there and everybody may feel he's better than me, and he [Angulo] will kick his ass. I feel that Alfredo Angulo will beat the shit out of Alvarez. I feel that. I feel that if they let that man go in there and they dish it out, I feel that he'll get him. That's just how I feel because that man's heart is as big as concrete. He's got a heart of gold, man, and he's willing to do it. He's a sharpshooter and you can't take that away from him. Alvarez, I feel that he has ability to stay calm, but I don't believe that, in tight situations, he's mature enough or knows what to do when those punches are harder than rocks, man, and you getting hit constantly. People allow him to back out of shots, they allow him to move in slow motion, they allow him to get off shots, keep his hands in; they not attacking and making the shots count. They're not doing that. Name one fighter that he's fought and done it. Or what fighter has he fought at 154 that hasn't moved up? All the people that he's fighting has moved up to 154. If they was a natural 154, they didn't train before the fight or they had to stay up underneath a certain weight. Come on, man.
BT: After the fight with Angulo, you faced Carlos Molina, who I personally thought was a bad matchup stylistically for you. Did you...
JK: (Cutting in) Hey, look, anybody that's fought Molina will tell you his style is nasty and it's a dirty style. If a referee allows him to do it, you might as well consider them brothers. The fact of the matter is if a referee allows a man to hold you more than 300 times in a fight without warning him, "Hey man, cut it out," if a man hasn't warned him once, it's a problem. Hey, that's his style, he knows how to use it and he tries to use it to his best ability, but I feel that if he was to throw and actually sit there and fight a real fight, hey, he can't take it. He can't take a punch. He holds every 10 seconds. He'll throw something and hold, throw something and hold, or headbutt in and hold. Even if you catching shots, it looks like the man is on top of the world. I don't know what he did when he fought ol' boy [Cory Spinks], but they said he dropped him. They said Cory Spinks was holding and they said Molina didn't fight the way that he fought you. If he tried to throw and mix with me, he got to understand I got firepower in both hands, so you not going to do that with me. You can do it with Spinks all day, but you're not going to do it with Kirkland.
BT: Are you back in the gym now or are you...
JK: (Cutting in) I'm full-time. This is what I do all day long; I'm in the gym. Now I have people coming up there, watching, and trying to figure out what Kirkland is looking forward to getting. I'm looking forward to getting a shot. I've been sitting out for 9 months. Shit, who wants it? People say, "Kirkland, you haven't fought this person or that person. They could've been a lot more stronger, a lot more skilled." But everybody that I spar, they say, "I fought this person, I fought that person, and they don't have half of the power that you have." I just know that when I hit people, they find a certain type of respect or they find a certain way to cover their ass because they're not built for that. They're not built with the brass and metal to take this shit. I'm bangin! All I can say is, man, people that are calling me out, I have no one sending me any type of contracts or saying, "Kirkland, you wanna fight this or fight that." I have no one doing that. I definitely want to fight.
BT: How's the arm feeling now?
JK: I'm going to be honest with you, ever since the amateurs, my arm has been popping out of the socket, and over the years, it just got worser, and worser, and worser. After the surgery, my arm seems like it's a little bit longer. It's stiff and it's hard and it hurts. Everybody that I done sparred since the surgery said, "That shit hurts, man!" I beat on that ass, boy!
BT: No doubt! Well when you do get everything resolved, is there any chance that you and Ann may reunite, or have you already begun the search for a new trainer?
JK: I ain't mad at nobody, man. Ann Wolfe, I'm not going to take anything from her because she's an outstanding and excellent conditioning coach. It's just that, hey, me and her just haven't found a time to talk. I basically told her and her family Happy New Years, and she basically shot the same thing back at me. So I wouldn't say that me and her got any bad vibes or anything bad like that. I just feel that I should be able to use any coach that I want to. I may want to use Ann Wolfe in this camp. I might want to say, "Hey, you know what? Ann wolfe, I want to use you, and I also want to use this cat right here." We can split the percentages or the money and work it to a certain standard to where, you know, it'll work out and be fair, but I don't feel that I should be able to say, "You know what? I want to use this dude, but if I'm not using Ann Wolfe, I still gotta pay Ann all her money and I have to find a way to pay this other cat." I don't feel that that's fair, you know.
BT: You haven't brought any other trainers in yet though, right?
JK: Not yet. You know Robert Garcia?
JK: He's definitely going to be added to my work list, regadless of whatever team I end up being with.
BT: So you're up for heading out to Oxnard, California to work with Robert Garcia?
JK: I would go to Spain to work with that dude. It doesn't matter where he go. That dude right there is the real deal and any fighter who has used him, they're going to vouch for him. Anybody that he has worked with, the proof is in the pudding. I don't even have to say nothing on that. He came to me and said, "Kirkland, whenever you're ready, I'm going to stop what I'm doing and we're going to make it happen." I've been dealing with him and knowing him since Vegas, when I was staying in Vegas. You know, I got a bunch of different people, good sources, people just willing to help in so many different ways.
BT: How soon do you think you'll be able to get things resolved so you can back in the ring? Is it just a matter of sitting down with Golden Boy and figuring things out?
JK: That's part of it. I feel like if I sit down and talk with Golden Boy, we can resolve something, but I guess they wanted to talk to Ann and Pops and Cameron; they wanted to talk to them because they felt they could get me down to a certain amount of money for a fight or this and that. But they was telling me some good numbers. I heard some numbers they said about a 1-year deal and some stuff like that. I said, hey, absolutely, it looks awesome, but I've never seen anything in black and white. I'm not believing in shit until I see it in black and white. I'm kind of hurt because the situation happened. At the end of the day, I might have to file bankruptcy. I mean, I'm at a stand still right now to where I have nothing. I've basically been sitting out 9 months. Who's been paying my bills? What has Kirkland been doing to get his bills taken care of?
BT: Well, hopefully you guys work everything out soon, because I know a lot of fans are looking forward to your return.
JK: I don't do nothing but box now. I box, spend time with my kids, and keep on moving to another day. I don't be in the mix no more, I don't be in the clubs, it doesn't even matter. I'm one-dimensional now, man. It's just Kirkland boxing, Kirkland home, Kirkland kids, Kirkland home, you know what I mean? That's me. As long as I'm in the ring, that's all I want.