Molina’s pre-fight prediction of a knockout did not come true, but the Chicago-based fighter was in control throughout the fight. Molina earned three 10-8 rounds, including two knockdowns in rounds 10 and 12.
“It was a rebound performance, but I feel I could do better,” Molina said. “For this fight, I felt like I should have given myself a little more room and not let him hold on to me. I should have thrown more combinations.”
In the early rounds, Molina established a pace and found home with the left hook. Spinks, 34, had some success with countering on the inside in round two. However, Molina soon adapted to neutralize Spinks’ counters.
Round five saw Molina focusing on the body. He worked his way inside and often pressed the action against the ropes. Spinks looked every bit of 34 years-old as he shelled up.
“I always like to work the body,” Molina said. “It always breaks them down no matter who you’re fighting. No matter what kind of shape their in, it always breaks them down.”
The later rounds became even more one-sided. Spinks’ constant holding led Celestino Ruiz to deduct a point in round nine. Still despite being comfortably ahead, Molina pressed for the knockout.
In round 10, Molina finally got his first knockdown when he landed an overhand right to a crouching Spinks. Spinks, who didn’t appear hurt, made it out of the round. Two rounds later, Molina again scored a knockdown with Spinks momentarily putting his glove on the canvas.
On not being able to secure the knockout Molina said “I feel pretty bad about that. That’s what I was going for and that’s what I wanted. I mean, I’ll just keep working on it and maybe next time.”
With the win Molina now moves into the number one IBF spot and becomes the mandatory for next month’s Ishe Smith-Cornelius Bundrage fight.
“I just hope it happens,” Molina said. “Once it gets signed and everything, I’ll be happier. But for now, I’ll watch and see who it is and hope I get it.”
CASTILLO - SMITH
In the televised co-feature for ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”, Antwone Smith, 23-4-1 (12), outworked former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo, 66-12-1 (55), to earn a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90, 98-92, and 99-91.
The fight was fought in close quarters and it was Smith who had the advantage. His bigger frame and natural size advantage gave Castillo fits. In round four, Castillo was deducted a point for hitting below the belt.
Round seven was Smith’s best round of the fight. The Miami-based fighter put Castillo in a corner and unloaded a barrage of punches on the former champion.
Who said that heavyweights could not be entertaining?
Heavyweights Mike Mollo and Arthur Szpilka delivered one of the most action packed heavyweight fights of recent memory as Szpilka scored a dramatic sixth round knockout after being down twice previously.
The heavily-favored Szpilka hit the canvas in the first round unexpectedly. Mollo, who was fighting for the first time in two years, landed a thunderous hook to the body that sent Szpilka down.
In round two, a horrendous cut opened above Mollo’s right eye. The cut was clearly a factor as Mollo had blood pouring into his eyes. Szpilka rebounded and dominated the next two rounds.
Round four saw Sziplka hitting the canvas again, this time with a huge hook. Mollo, who was deducted a point in the same round for pushing, tried to finish him off in the final minute, but Sziplka made it out of the round.
With the cuts getting worse, the two traded punches in the next two rounds. Celestino Ruiz kept disrupting the action to check with the doctor if Mollo could continue.
In the middle of an exchange during round six, Sziplka landed a straight left hand that flattened Mollo out of nowhere. Referee Celestino Ruiz jumped in and instantly waived off the fight.
The official time was 2:45 of round six as 5354 people cheered.
Donovan George, 24-3-1, returned to the ring and earned a first round KO over James Cook, 11-5-1. George landed a body shot that sent Cook to the canvas. Time was 1:15.
Super middleweight Mike Jimenez earned a second round stoppage over James Cook. Jimenez, 9-0, dominated the fight throughout.
Jaime Herrera, 10-2, got a first round stoppage over Marlon Smith. Herrera sent Smith down to the canvas and referee Celestino Ruiz stopped it shortly after.