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Death of Kirkland Laing

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Post by Derek Smalls Wed 09 Jun 2021, 11:49 pm

I know that I won't be alone in being saddened by this news as read on Herol Graham's feed on social media.

A one on a million boxer.
Derek Smalls
Derek Smalls

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu 10 Jun 2021, 1:56 am

Very sad to see what became of Laing - and that's even before you take into account the final few years, where he became a bit of a mythical figure. I've heard he was living back in Nottingham for at least the last ten years, but he was never seen about, never seemed to be involved in boxing in any way, never seemed to be so much as sought out for an occasional interview by the local press. I suspect quite a few fans, even pretty serious ones, will be surprised to hear this news simply because they just assumed or had almost tricked themselves into thinking that he'd already passed away years ago.

How good was he? I've tended to be a bit more cautious in rating him than others (most think he was a potential all-time great) simply because while it was still a good win, the Duran that Kirkland beat was only half-serious about boxing at that stage and was even struggling with guys like Jimmy Batten, and because Laing doesn't really have any notable wins against name fighters beyond that. Of course he could easily have taken Colin Jones' scalp but for his lapses in concentration which saw his points lead wiped out in an instant....Twice.

But interestingly Duran, who was never quick to praise any opponent (especially the ones who beat him!), did manage to muster a bit of a compliment to Laing after their fight, calling him a "clever son of a bitch". If Duran's complimenting you, then you've sure as hell earned it.

Safe to say he was a good talent who certainly underachieved. Quite a few underachievers around on the British scene in and around that era to keep him company, though: Conteh, Errol Christie, Bomber Graham etc. Such a shame that the Duran fight should have been the start of bigger and better things - instead he didn't fight for a year after it, spent most of that time living the high life and skiving off training and then lost on his return anyway.

R.I.P Kirkland.

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Post by Mochyn du Thu 10 Jun 2021, 12:57 pm

I love the fights with Colin Jones. Jones was like the antithesis of Laing, hard working, hard as nails but limited, whereas Laing was flamboyant, highly skilled but with dubious dedication.

Shame what happened to Laing with the homelessness issues and that. It shows how you can have all the talent in the world but without common sense and dedication it amounts to naught in the end.

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