How a pro boxer responds to adversity usually separates contenders from pretenders. Highly-regarded world middleweight prospect James McGirt, Jr.,19-1 (9), coming off of his first career loss, passed his first major test June 25 on national television, winning a unanimous 10 round decision against former IBO and WBU Middleweight champion Raymond “Hallelujah” Joval, 37-5 (16).
McGirt, who returns to the ring November 11 on the Glen Johnson and Edision Miranda "Bad Boys" card, against an opponent to be determined in Hollywood FL, successfully bounced back from his first pro loss in April to Carlos DeLeon, Jr., serving as a valuable lesson for James who had floored DeLeon at the end of the sixth round, only to get careless going for a knockout in the seventh and consequently getting stopped himself.
McGirt has started to establish his own identity, somewhat breaking from the shadows of his father and head trainer, two time world champion James “Buddy” McGirt, with his win against Joval that catapulted him into the No. 8 spot in The Ring magazine’s ratings, as well as No. 14 in the latest WBC rankings.
“I felt better about myself after the Joval fight,” said McGirt, “but it didn’t erase the loss to DeLeon. But I did beat The Ring’s No. 8 rated middleweight Joval. I beat a well experienced fighter, but I still have to whoop Carlos DeLeon so I can sleep good again at night.”
McGirt recently shifted training camp from Vero Beach to Las Vegas, where his father is preparing Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi for his November 22 showdown against Ricky Hatton. “I’ve had a real good training camp and it’s going to get even better in Las Vegas,” James remarked. “I don’t know who I’m fighting but it doesn’t matter. Whoever it is, he’s going to have to worry about me.
"Paulie’s getting ready for his big fight with Hatton. My dad is his trainer, so I’m going where he is, and I respect that. I need to get away anyway. I’ve been home too long. I’ll be working harder out there and will be able to focus even more. It’s going to help get me in the right frame of mind with five weeks to go so I can go kick some butt. I can promise you this: I will be ready to fight on November 11.”