CARSON, Calif. — Kermit Cintron has some bad mojo going at the Home Depot Center.
Cintron was accused of literally taking a dive in a bizarre technical decision loss to Paul Williams in the Home Depot Center’s tennis arena last May. In his very next fight, on the Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon undercard on Saturday at the same outdoor venue, the former welterweight beltholder was out-pointed by Carlos Molina over 10 rounds.
Cintron (32-4-1, 28 knockouts) was thoroughly outworked by Molina, who won by unanimous scores of 98-92. The fight was generally uneventful but Molina (19-4-2, 7 KOs) took the initiative and landed the telling blows in the majority of rounds.
Cintron, THE RING’s No. 2-rated junior middleweight, exhibited some defensive moves but he showed very little in the way of offense and effort.
The 31-year-old veteran’s heart was questioned after he fell out of the ring during the fourth round of his fight with Williams, his will and overall ability will be questioned after the one-sided loss to Molina.
Which is not to say that Molina isn’t a very capable boxer. The 28-year-old Chicagoan proved his considerable skills by holding undefeated former Cuban amateur star Erislandy Lara to a 10-round draw in February. However, Molina does not have the size, reach or power that Cintron is gifted with.
And yet, whether it was the ring rust or the demons of the Williams fight wearing on his mind, Cintron simply did not punch enough to win.
Cintron’s unwillingness or inability to take it to Molina perplexed his trainer, Ronnie Shields.
“We had a great training camp,” Shields said. “Kermit had eight to nine weeks to get ready. There are no excuses for what happened out there. He couldn’t get off. These things are hard explain.”
Don’t blame it on Cintron’s inactivity, said Molina.
“I had two years of ring rust (before the Lara fight) and I didn’t let it effect me,” Molina said. “I drove here myself (from Chicago) and got here on July 4th. It was a three day journey, but I was prepared. I’ll take on anyone next.”
What Cintron does next is anyone’s guess. He didn’t care to discuss what might have gone wrong against Molina or what he plans to do going forward.
“It was a tough fight,” said Cintron, who was recently singed by Top Rank. “I’ve been in a lot of tough fights.”
Perhaps he’s been in too many.
A number of undefeated Top Rank-promoted prospects were in action on the non-televised undercard.
Lightweight Mercito Gesta (22-0-1, 11 KOs) outclassed Jorge Pimentel to a one-sided third-round stoppage with a beautiful blend of speed, power and technique.
The talented southpaw dropped Pimentel (22-12, 15 KOs), a capable journeyman from Mexico, in the second and third rounds with short left uppercuts. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the fight off after the second knockdown at 2:23 of the third round.
There was no point in allowing Pimentel to continue. The 31-year-old veteran could not contend with Gesta’s fast, flashy combinations, most of which were punctuated by hard counter left hooks.
Gesta, a San Diego-based Filipino who recently signed with Top Rank, should make a nice addition to the world-class ranks of the lightweight division in a few fights.
Middleweight Matt Korobov (16-0, 9 KOs), a former amateur standout from Russian, out-boxed Lester Gonzalez (12-4-2, 6 KOs) to a unanimous six-round decision.
Top Rank’s matchmakers and Korobov‘s manager Cameron Dunkin believe the skillful southpaw, who is based in Las Vegas and trains with hall-of-famer Mike McCallum, will be ready to take on top-10 contenders by the end of this year.
Popular light heavyweight Mike Lee (6-0, 4 KOs) stopped Michael Birthmark with a concentrated body attack at the end of the third round of their scheduled four-round bout.
Lee, a 24-year-old Notre Dame grad who is trained by Ronnie Shields, dropped Birthmark (2-6) in the first and third rounds.
Australian junior lightweight Paul Fleming (10-0, 7 KOs) blasted out faded Mexican journeyman Juan Jose Beltran 52 seconds into the first round of their scheduled six-round contest.
Lightweight Jose Roman (11-0, 9 KOs), of Santa Ana, Calif., also scored a brutal first round knockout, pummeling Randy Arrellin (8-6, 4 KOs), of Albuquerque, N.M., inside of the opening three minutes.
Junior featherweight Gabino Saenz (4-0, 4 KOs), of Indio, Calif., stopped Quinice Wesby (1-2), of Dallas, Tex., in third round of their scheduled four rounder.