RingTV.com spoke to junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina about his upcoming fight with hard-hitting James Kirkland, which is part of an HBO-televised double-header featuring junior welterweight titleholder Erik Morales against Danny Garcia on March 24 at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas.
The matchup is a big one for Molina (19-4-2, 6 knockouts), a 28-year-old contender who has been on the bubble of achieving noteriety throughout much of his career.
Molina has endured a draw as well as a six-round majority decision loss against current WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in December of 2005 and 2006, respectively, and takes an unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with just two stoppages into the fight with Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs).
Kirkland rose from a first-round knockdown to stop slugger Alfredo Angulo in the sixth round of his last fight in November on HBO, earning his third consecutive knockout victory since, himself, being stopped in the first round by Nobuhiro Ishida in April.
Molina’s run includes a victory over former welterweight beltholder Kermit Cintron in July and a draw with then-unbeaten Erislandy Lara in March. Between those upsets, the busy Chicago native scored a seventh-round stoppage of Allen Conyers in April.
During his streak, Molina has also vanquished welterweight fringe contender Ed Paredes by unanimous decision in April of 2009. Paredes has gone 7-0-1 with five knockouts since falling to Molina.
Molina’s last loss was by eight-round, majority decision against current unbeaten junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado.
RingTV.com: What opportunity is ahead of you against Kirkland?
Carlos Molina: I am most definitely happy. First card on HBO. It’s against Kirkland. His career is running hot. I want the opportunity to fight him or anybody.
RingTV.com: What is your perspective on why you were selected?
CM: I’ve been asked that before, I guess. I think that they believe that I’m an easy opponent. That I won’t be able to stop him. If anything, I think that they believe he will overwhelm me.
But that’s what I get every fight. All of my opponents, they all think the same. But that doesn’t really matter to me what they think. I just go out there and execute my fight.
RingTV.com: Are you comfortable with what you bring to the table, or do you feel that you have to make any adjustments in the style that brought you to this point?
CM: No, I believe that fighting the same way can work for me. You know, make him miss, work the body and work the head and adjust to what they’re doing. I need to be smart and to fight him smart.
Of course, if we’re going to try to knock him out if we see the chance and the opportunity to do that. If it’s there, I’ll go and get it. I’m ready for every fight.
I feel like I do have the ability to stop these guys, and I will. That’s what we’re working on. I’m still learning, and I feel that I’m putting everything together for this fight. We’re always confident in what we bring to the table.
It doesn’t matter who I have to fight or who I have to beat. You have to be confident going into any fight. If you’re not, then you’re already one step down and closer to losing the fight.
RingTV.com: Does Kirkland compare favorably to anyone you’ve fought before?
CM: Well, he’s aggressive, I’ve fought a couple of guys with his aggressive style. But he’s a southpaw, and he just keeps on coming strong. I mean, Mike Alvarado was kind of like that. He sort of bull-rushed his way in.
That’s probably my closest fight similar to this one. Alexis Camacho was sort of like that, but I won a unanimous decision over him [in Feburary of 2009].
They were a lot like Kirkland. They say that Kirkland is in good shape, but I’m always in good shape also. I’m in tip-top shape, and I’m up for the challenge.