by Cliff Rold
Making his first start since being disqualified to great controversy in a fight he was winning going away against James Kirkland in March, 29-year old Mexican Jr. Middleweight Carlos Molina (20-5-2, 6 KO) of Chicago, Illinois, showed off his full repertoire against 35-year old Cuban Damian Frias (19-5, 10 KO) of Miami, Florida, earning a shutout over ten rounds on Friday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Molina reminded all of why he is one of the best six loss fighters in the sport, Kirkland only one of a few losses that could easily have gone the other way against some of the best around.
Molina came into the bout spot on the division limit of 154 lbs., Frias a pound under at 153. The referee was Gary Ritter.
Molina started out jabbing against the southpaw Frias, focusing his attack on the body as the round progressed. Frias, inactive since September 2011, mostly pawed with the jab and kept his guard high, easing his way into combat. Molina’s lead right to the belly found the target repeatedly and the left hook to the flanks was behind it, Molina easily putting the first round in his pocket.
Frias opened up more in the second, even knocking Molina off balance with a quick left, but it was Molina landing and working more for the full three minutes. In the third, Molina’s consistent body attack began creating more openings for a lead left to the head and Frias was stuck in a reactive mode that did little for his chances.
Remaining befuddled through the fourth, Frias found some offense late in the fifth round. A lead right hook set up a nice left, but Molina absorbed the shots fine and otherwise kept what appeared a shutout going. It was Molina on top in the sixth, busting Frias with hard body shots along the ropes late and muscling his man around the ring.
Molina ate a flush left hand in the seventh and Molina tied up in spots during the round to halt a chance at a rally. Frias tried to find the left again in the eighth but Molina had it guarded and went through his bag of tricks. Mixing it up to the head and body, and holding in close, Molina never let the fight get away from him.
In the last two rounds, Molina took nothing for granted. Despite having every reason to believe he’d won every round of the bout, he kept on Frias and kept punching. It was a complete performance from a fighter whose luck indicates he needs one at all time. It was a performance rewarded accurately with the final scores, perfection at 100-90 across the board.
Molina came into the bout rated eighth by the WBC and sixth by the IBF, but based on the men in front of him in both he merits a higher position. Nights like Frias won’t hurt his chances…or will they?
The televised opener featured some heavy-handed action while it lasted.
Left with a late replacement opponent when original foe Adonis Stevenson was injured, 27-year old Super Middleweight Don George (23-2-1, 20 KO), 170, of Chicago, Illinois, built to a strong finish in overcoming 30-year old Colombian Dionisio Miranda (21-8-2, 18 KO), 168, of Miami, Florida. George forced a corner retirement after the sixth round.
Making his first start since June 2011, Miranda showed little ill effect from the layoff in the early rounds. The pace helped, George deliberate in his pressure. George picked up the pace in the fourth but Miranda kept up, responding to an attack that drove him to the ropes with a long lead right before the round was done.
As had been the case throughout the fight, the long left jab of Miranda did much to control the early going of the fifth. George stepped forward and launched hard to the body, Miranda matching him downstairs. Miranda’s shoulder guard was keeping the George right hand from landing flush until the closing seconds, landing singularly and then off a left before the bell.
The power shots started to come in volume during the sixth. George rocked Miranda with a steady assault begun with a massive right. Miranda’s punches increasingly launched from the back foot as he sought sturdy legs. Miranda earned a brief respite, catching George off balance with a power shot of his own but it didn’t take long for the George tide to begin rolling again. A final right hand shook Miranda badly just before the bell.
He didn’t leave his feet but his corner saw enough to allow their man to leave the fight. Referee Gary Ritter visited the corner to be informed the night was over.
Light Heavyweight: Vilier Quinonez (5-0, 3 KO) UD4 Eddie Tigs (1-3-2)
The card was broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN2 as its season finale of “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Tony Holden Productions and Warriors Boxing.
Cliff Rold is a Managing Editor at BoxingScene, and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: Carlos Molina