Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland to fight
Junior middleweights Alfredo "Perro" Angulo and James Kirkland, both known for their knockout power and straight-ahead all-action style, have signed to fight each other in a bout that almost assuredly will produce fireworks.
They will meet in Nov. 5 in a scheduled 12-round fight that will headline an edition of HBO's "Boxing After Dark" in Cancun, Mexico. Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who promotes both fighters, told ESPN.com on Thursday that both had signed their contracts for the bout that had been in discussions for the past few weeks.
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"That's a sick fight," Schaefer said. "This is two guys who come to fight, two guys who are exciting and I just think if I would be a betting man, I would bet you 99 percent it would be ending in a knockout. This is a fight that can only end in a knockout. I think it's as exciting of a fight as one can make."
A showdown between Angulo, 29, of Mexico, and Kirkland, 27, of Austin, Texas, has been talked about for the past few years when they became HBO regulars and turned in a string of exciting fights and big knockouts.
However, Angulo's career was sidetracked because of immigration and promotional issues -- he eventually split from Gary Shaw and signed with Golden Boy -- that kept him on the sideline for 13 months until he returned for an easy first-round knockout of Joseph Gomez in August. Angulo is still not permitted to enter the United States, which is why the fight will take place in Mexico.
Kirkland's career also was sidetracked, but far more seriously. He was out for two years, 18 months of which he spent in prison on gun charges.
Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) returned to win two fights in March and then, with a possible fall title shot against middleweight champ Sergio Martinez on the line, was stunningly upset in a first-round knockout by unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida in April in what was supposed to be a showcase fight.
After the loss, Kirkland reunited with trainer Ann Wolfe and has won twice, scoring knockouts in June and July.
"It's a great fight and I don't think there can be a loser because I think it's going to be such a good fight," said Cameron Dunkin, who co-manages both fighters. "They really want to fight each other. They are both gung ho and ready to go. I'm for it. It's a great fight for boxing fans and for HBO."
Dunkin and Michael Miller, the other manager, said they have gone to great lengths to make sure everything between the fighters is even, including 50/50 on the money.
"You want both guys to win, neither to get hurt, for them to have a great fight and both make money," Dunkin said. "Whether it's a draw or whoever wins, you'll walk away with both guys and try to afford both future opportunities. I had long talks with Michael about it, about how we wanted to make sure everything was exactly the same and even for both guys. We don't want to play favorites.
"If this is what they want to do, we have to afford opportunities to our clients and root for both of them. But, of course, it is gut-wrenching because you want both guys to win."
Because of Kirkland's probation, he needs special permission to travel to Mexico for the fight, but Schaefer said that has been addressed.
"Michael Miller got confirmation from whoever he needed to get confirmation from that Kirkland is permitted to travel, so that is not an issue," Schaefer said.
Said Dunkin: "James doesn't care where the fight is at. James is fine being in Mexico. He says it doesn't matter where it takes place."
Schaefer said the HBO opening bout will pit middleweight Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (25-0, 19 KOs) against Craig McEwan (19-1, 10 KOs), who suffered a 10th-round knockout to Andy Lee in his last fight, a competitive battle on HBO in March.
"Both fighters have agreed and it is getting papered," Schaefer said. "McEwan had an exciting performance against Lee even though he didn't win, so he is getting another chance, and 'Kid Chocolate' is looking to step up. Between McEwan and 'Kid Chocolate' we are grooming another challenger in the middleweight division."
Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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