By The Way, Gamboa Is Not The Only One On the HBO Card Saturday

In case you missed the announcement earlier we here at the Ring Report have officially designated this week to have been “Yuriorkis Gamboa Week” in honor of the Cuban Olympic standout who will headline HBO’s Boxing After Dark card this Saturday night. My trusted college Tim has already shared his adulation of the Cuban pug and has taken his rightful place as the driver of the Gamboa bandwagon.¬† While I too share his sentiments of Gamboa being the “next big thing” in this beautiful sport let us not forget that there are two other noteworthy prospects featured on the Saturday night’s telecast.¬† James Kirkland Opening the night’s telecast will be hard-hitting junior welterweight prospect James Kirkland.¬† The 24 year-old native of Austin, TX is simply a beast inside the ring as is evident upon glancing at this sterling record of 21-0, 18 KO’s.¬† Quiet and reserved outside of the ring, Kirkland’s persona quickly does a 180 degree transformation the minute he steps in side the squared circle.¬† Outside of Tyson, I have not seen a fighter who fights with such rage and hatred toward his opponent once the bell rings.¬† No doubt such aggression is a byproduct of his impoverished upbringing on the streets of east Austin a story I personally have chronicled in penned articles for both The Sweet Science and FightHype. Kirkland will undertake his toughest opponent to date in the form of Eromosele Albert who hails from Nigeria and holds an impressive record of 21-1, 10 KO’s.¬† Albert has victorious over some credible fighters such as Contender participant David Banks (Albert handed Banks his first loss), “Yory Boy” Campas, and Daniel Edouard.¬† Not a bad list of victims for an unheralded middleweight journeyman.¬† While a scouting report of Albert yields little other than he likes to throw punches in bunches the fact remains that most fighters from Nigeria have heart in abundance and can take a good punch so Kirkland will be in with a fighter who is not going to roll over for him.¬† It is the type of fight that Kirkland needs as there are still some doubters that point to Kirkland getting dropped in his last fight by Allen Conyers as a sign that he may not be truly worthy of his top ten ranking by the WBC and WBA.¬† Of course you have to realize that Conyers is a hard punching accomplished fighter and Kirkland overcame that knockdown to stop him in the first round. On a side note, I have spoken to Kirkland’s trainer Ann Wolfe on occasion and she often boasts about her and Kirkland’s unorthodox training methods but I think Steve Kim of Maxboxing’s¬†recent piece on Kirkland shines some light on it in superb fashion.¬† It is also interesting to read’s Kirkland’s feelings on being the night’s opening bout.¬† He does bring up a valid point considering that he is the only ranked fighter on the night’s card. Expect Kirkland’s fight to be the fight of the night, you heard it here first. Alfredo Angulo Sandwiched between the Kirkland and Gamboa fights is another highly touted prospect in Alfredo “El Perro”¬†Angulo.¬† Like Kirkland, Angulo is¬† a seek-and-destroy hard punching junior middleweight.¬† The tough former Mexican Olympian has honed his skills in the hotbed of boxing talent that is the southern California gym scene having sparred with the likes of Sergio Mora, Antonio Margarito, and Roy Jones, Jr.. Like the aforementioned Kirkland and Gamboa, Angulo is being matched tough in his initial foray onto the HBO airwaves in fighting Richard Gutierrez who boasts a record of 24-1, 14 KO’s.¬† Many pundits have gone on the record as saying this fight may be the most exciting one of the night given Gutierrez’s come forward style that is sure to gel with the like-minded Angulo. In many respects Angulo is the Mexican version of Kirkland with with ferocious ring attack and soft spoken demeanor.¬† I really think that Gutierrez will be overwhelmed with Angulo’s two fisted attack.¬† What both HBO and Showtime seem to be working on is a grudge match down the road that would pit Angulo against Kirkland in what surly would be a Fight of the Year candidate.¬† Of course such a mythical match-up would have to wait until both fighters gain some recognition in order for both parties to see any type of monetary¬†award but the world will be waiting.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.