By Rick Reeno
Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada - In the televised main event of ESPN's Friday Night Fights, rising junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara (15-0-1, 10KOs) of Cuba, and tough Carlos Molina (17-4-1, 5KOs) of Mexico battled to a ten round majority decision. The scores were 97-93 for Molina, 95-95 and 95-95 for the draw.
In the first two rounds, Lara spent too much time waiting for Molina to get off first. When Lara lethis hands go, he was often throwing a single punch at a time. The same direction continued, with Molina outworking and outfighting Lara in the third. The Cuban's cornermen were screaming for combinations that never came. Lara began to get more accurate with his punches in the fifth round and it may have been his first round where he clearly won.
in the seventh, Lara was still allowing Molina to get off way too often by standing around and waiting, without punching, and the jab was non-existent. Lara reached out with his right jab as more of a measuing stick to throw singular power shots. During the eight round, the tension in Lara's corner was high. They were screaming for him to get more active and to back Molina up. They felt the rounds were too close, and they were.
Early in the ninth, a cut opened up under the left eye of Molina. Lara was busier than usual in during the entire three minutes of the ninth. The tenth and final round was an active one for both boxers. They were both looking to close strong. Lara was busier for the first two minutes, but he certainly allowed Molina to create the better work in the final minute of the round.
In a cruiserweight contest, Yunier Dorticos (12-0, 12KOs) continued his string of knockouts with a second round stoppage of Jose Luis Herrera (16-11, 16KOs). After dropping Herrera in the second, Dorticos followed up with a combination of hard punches, which prompted referee Tony Weeks to save Herrera from further damage.
Yudel Jhonson (10-0, 7KOs) picked up the biggest win of his career with a controverisal seven round stoppage of tough veteran Richard Gutierrez (26-6-1, 16KOs). Jhonson stunned Gutierrez in the seventh, and then pinned him against the ropes trying to finish him off. For whatever reason, referee Russel Mora jumped in and stopped the fight as both of the boxers were trading shots.
Unbeaten lightweight prospect Puro Pairol (5-0-1, 1KO) won an easy four round unanimous decision over Frankie Rey Martinez (0-3). All three judges scored it 40-36.
In a lightweight contest, Hylon Williams Jr. (13-0, 3KOs) was putting on a boxing clinic, and well on his way to a dominating six round decision, but his opponent, Jorge Cordero (4-6, 4KOs) continued to land repeated low blows, which led to his disqualification at 1:22 of round four.