By Chris Robinson
A crucial fight in the junior middleweight division looks to be set as rejuvenated James Kirkland is in line for a crack a streaking Chicago, Ill. native Carlos Molina on January 28th of next year on HBO's Boxing After Dark.
Kirkland is coming off of a dramatic come-from-behind victory Alfredo Angulo in Cancun, Mexico that saw him rise off the canvas in the first round before scoring a knockdown of his own and rallying to secure a sixth-round TKO. That win erased the bitter taste of Kirkland’s embarrassing first-round knockout loss unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida in April and he is once again a hot commodity in the sport.
Molina was an afterthought heading into 2011 but returned from a 21-month spell of inactivity to battle talented Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara to a draw in late March. He followed that fight up with two more victories in the span of ten weeks’ time, the latest being a notable upset over former champion Kermit Cintron that saw Molina simply walk through him for ten rounds.
A fight with Kirkland represents yet another dangerous test for the soft-spoken Molina but he didn’t hesitate when answering how he would defeat the Austin, Texas slugger.
“The same way we always do. Make him miss, be in top shape, and just outwork him. Just stay smart,” said Molina.
Molina was able to witness Kirkland’s victory over Angulo but didn’t seem too intimidated by what transpired.
“Yeah, actually I did see it and that was a good fight,” Molina stated. “It was an entertaining fight. I’m up for the challenge and I want that fight. I hear that he wants it too. I saw that he called me out.”
Molina is far from a household name but he has faced a solid string of opponents during his eight years as a pro, including former title challenger Danny Perez, talented South Florida prospect Ed Paredes, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Mike Alvarado along with the aforementioned Lara and Cintron.
Asked to compare Kirkland to some of his past opponents, Molina instantly saw the differences.
“I mean, he is tough but he has a different style," Molina claimed. "Lara is more of a boxer and Kirkland, he’s more of a brawler. He goes in there and tries to knock you out. It depends on how you fight him. You can’t make it tough on yourself, it depends on how you fight him.”
Sometimes a man of few words, but expect a true fight from Molina come January.