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A “King” Collides with Boxing Royalty in Chicago

By Percy Dockery

Tonight, ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” will return to the Windy City for the second time in recent months. This event will feature an IBF junior middleweight title eliminator bout with former two-division, five-time world champion Corey “The Next Generation” Spinks, 39-7 (11), taking on Chicago’s very own “King” Carlos Molina, 20-5-2 (6).

Spinks is the son of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and nephew of former light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks. He has been around boxing most of his life, eventually taking up the sport at the age of seven. As an amateur, Spinks compiled a 78-13 record. In 1997, he won the National Golden Gloves, the Police Athletic League welterweight titles and that November, turned professional.
In Spinks’ and Michele Piccirillo’s first fight in 2002, Piccirillo was awarded a very controversial, unanimous decision for the then-vacant IBF welterweight title. Dan Rafael, then of USA Today, said, “This decision was one of the worst ever.” In 2003, Spinks defeated Piccirillo in a rematch, winning the title by unanimous decision. Spinks went on to have a successful career and will have the advantage over Molina when it comes to the quality of fighters they have respectively faced.
Spinks is not just a two-division, five-time world champ; he has been in the ring against several former champs, such as Zab Judah, Verno Phillips, Ricardo Mayorga and Jermain Taylor. Spinks gave each of his opponents all they could handle, winning some and losing others, as he battled these warriors while they were at the top of their game. Although Spinks has had high moments in the sport, followed by a few low moments, one thing is for certain; he is still here and very eager to prove he remains a threat at 154 pounds. He has no plans of allowing Molina to derail him in his quest to become a six-time world champion.
On the other hand, Carlos Molina is not concerned with the amount of championships Spinks has won, how many former champions he has faced or how many big fight cards he has headlined. The wildly popular Chicagoan is more focused on showing the world why the top junior middleweights are ducking him and that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with, regardless of his opponent. Molina’s résumé is impressive. Early in his career, he fought former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (then 23-0) to a draw yet defeated former champ Kermit Cintron via unanimous decision in July of 2011. However, Molina lost via controversial disqualification to the highly-touted and very dangerous James Kirkland in March of last year. Molina smothered Kirkland’s power punches from the opening bell, tiring out Kirkland as well as forcing him out of his comfort zone. Molina outworked and outlanded him throughout the fight.
Going into the 10th round, Molina looked to be well on his way to an upset victory over his favored opponent. However, Kirkland landed two very hard shots to Molina’s body and dropped him at the end of the round. Molina was never out on his feet and easily beat the count but one of Molina’s cornermen (seemingly unaware of the rule that the referee has to finish his count and examine the fighter to conclude if he can continue) entered the ring after hearing the bell ending the round, causing Molina to be disqualified. Some believe referee Jon Schorle’s decision was extreme and he should have given Molina’s cornerman a warning and not stopped the fight. At the time, Molina was up on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
Although the decision was obviously hurtful, Molina has put Kirkland fight behind him. He attests that he fears no fighter and knows he is only a fight or two away from fighting for the IBF welterweight championship. Moreso, he has no plans of allowing Spinks to stop his momentum.
Molina has to outmuscle Spinks, forcing the former champ to fight with his back against the ropes, smothering him and physically wearing him down. He has to test Spinks, gauging any wear and tear on his body incurred from his previous wars. Spinks, on the other hand, will need to use his expansive experience, ring generalship and foot movement, not allowing Molina to set his own feet. Spinks should try to simply outbox Molina, which is easier said than done. This should be a good fight but Spinks cannot afford another loss at such a critical stage in his career because he may never get an opportunity at another title run. Speaking of titles and the sanctioning bodies that love them, at 154 pounds, Molina is currently ranked fourth by the IBF and seventh by the WBC. Spinks is ranked 12th by the IBF.
In the co-main event, Mexican legend and former two-time world champion Jose Luis “El Temible” Castillo, 64-11-1 (55), returns to Chicago to take on Antwone “The Truth” Smith, 22-4-1 (12) in a 10-rounder. Castillo is coming off an eighth round stoppage win over Chicago’s Ivan Popoca in July of last year at the UIC Pavilion. Smith’s last outing was a 10-round decision win over then-undefeated prospect Ronald Cruz.
Poland’s Artur “The Pin” Szpika, 12-0 (9), will also be in action in a heavyweight bout against Chicago’s very own “Merciless” Mike Mollo, 20-3-1 (12). Rounding out the undercard will be a few of Chicago’s top prospects including super middleweight contender Donovan “Da Bomb” George, 22-3-1 (20), super middleweight prospect Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez, 8-0 (5), (fresh off an impressive stoppage of former contender Antwun Echols), welterweight prospect Jaime Herrera, 9-2 (4), former cruiserweight amateur standout Junior Wright, 5-0 (5), featherweight prospect Sergio Montes de Oca, 6-1-1 (1), and newcomer “Irish” Jimmy Murphy, 1-0 (1). Tonight, Chicago fight fans will be treated to be a night full of fireworks.
The Weigh-In…
Carlos Molina, 153.4 vs. Cory Spinks, 153.2
Antwone Smith 155.6, vs. Jose Luis Castillo, 151.8
Artur Szpilka, 230.8 vs. Mike Mollo, 231.6
Don George, 164.4 vs. James Cook, 161.8
Mike Jimenez 167.8, vs. Jordan Brown, 167.8
Jaime Herrera, 146.8 vs. Marlon Smith, 146.2
Jimmy Murphy, 145.4 vs. Aloric Carson, 150.2
Sergio Montes de Oca, 126.2 vs. Antoine Knight, 127
Junior Anthony Wright, 197.6 vs. Tim Johnson, 203.8
Major credit to Chicago’s 8 Count Productions, Bernie Bahrmasel of Double B Publicity, Round 3 Productions, Warriors Boxing and Blue Wave Boxing in association with Don King Productions for putting this exciting card together.
Questions and comments can be sent to Percy Dockery at
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