By Keith Idec
Kermit Cintron quickly pounced on another opportunity to fight on television after dropping a surprisingly lopsided 10-round decision to Carlos Molina on July 9 in Carson, Calif.
If he loses this fight Friday night, too, Cintron’s trainer thinks the former IBF welterweight champion might have to start looking for another line of work. Cintron (32-4-1, 28 KOs), of Reading, Pa., will meet Miami’s Antwone Smith (20-2-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight match ESPN2 will broadcast as a “Friday Night Fights” main event from AmeriStar Casino in St. Charles, Mo.
“This is going to be a career-changer,” said Ronnie Shields, Cintron’s trainer. “It’s either going to change his career for the better, or his career is over. Everything is on the line for Kermit in this fight --- everything.”
Cintron, 31, looked lethargic throughout his loss to Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) on the Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon undercard last month at Home Depot Center. Chicago’s Molina won 98-92 on all three scorecards in a bout Showtime televised.
Smith, 24, has won two straight fights against pedestrian opposition since suffering a loss to Detroit’s Lanardo Tyner (25-4-2, 15 KOs) in what was considered a mild upset. Tyner stopped Smith in the ninth round 13 months ago in Atlantic City.
“This is a big fight for me,” Smith said. “It’s a golden opportunity. I saw Cintron’s last performance. I know when I come ready, I can beat him. I’m going to come in, be a little sharper, use speed, take my time and work my way into the fight. In my head, I know what I’m capable of doing, and that’s winning by any means necessary.”
This ESPN2 telecast will begin at 9 p.m. EDT with a 10-round lightweight co-feature that’ll pit St. Louis’ Dannie Williams (18-1, 14 KOs) against Mexico’s Antonio Cervantes (19-6-5, 13 KOs).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.