Out of the Ring, Into the Pen

James Kirkland sentenced to two years in federal prison

James Kirkland
James Kirkland

Austin-born junior middleweight boxer James Kirkland was sentenced to two years in federal prison last week. Kirkland was charged in April with illegal possession of a firearm that he'd bought at the monthly Saxet Gun Show in North Austin (he'd been convicted of armed robbery in 2003, making him a felon in possession).

Kirkland could have faced a far longer sentence, but federal District Judge James Nowlin was reportedly sufficiently impressed by Kirkland's supporters to lower the sentence. Women's champion boxer Ann Wolfe and Kirkland's promoter, retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, spoke to the court on Kirkland's behalf. "I told the judge that James made a stupid mistake that cost him dearly," De La Hoya told ESPN.com. De La Hoya said that he believes Kirkland was trying to protect himself: "He's a kid who was winning, fighting on HBO, and making money, and I think he figured he'd protect himself." [Reprinted from "Naked City," News, Oct. 2]

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