Michael Rosenthal

Ring Ratings Update: What do we do about Molina and Kirkland?

The most-compelling debate this week among members of the Ratings Advisory Panel was what to do about Carlos Molina and James Kirkland, who fought one another on Saturday in Houston.

Kirkland was behind on two of three cards when Molina, who was knocked down a split second before the end of Round 10, was disqualified after one of his cornermen stepped into the ring in the middle of referee Jon Shorle’s count.

Molina’s promoter said he will seek to have the disqualification changed to a no-contest, claiming Schorle’s decision violated Texas rules. He cited Texas Commission Rule 61.41(K)(6), which states: “When a round ends before a contestant who was knocked down rises, the bell shall not ring, and the count shall continue. If the contestant rises before the count of ten, the bell shall ring ending the round.”

In other words, the promoter, Leon Margules, believes the cornerman was not in violation of the rules because the round should’ve ended the moment Molina got to his feet.

The scoring of the fight also had the potential to create controversy. Molina seemed to have fairly easily outboxed Kirkland until the end but might’ve lost a decision because of suspect scorecards.

Judge Dave Moretti had it about right after nine rounds, 88-83 for Molina; David Sutherland had it 87-84 for Molina; and Gale Van Hoy somehow had Kirkland winning 86-85.

If Molina hadn’t been DQ’d and you give Kirkland a 10-8 round in the 10th because of the knockdown, those scores are 96-93 and 95-94 for Molina and 96-93 for Kirkland. That means Kirkland could’ve won a split decision simply by winning each of the final two rounds, which is plausible because he was gaining momentum. Kirkland also might’ve knocked out Molina, who seemed to be shaken by the knockdown punch.

And, of course, Molina might’ve held off Kirkland in the 11th and 12th to win a decision himself.

So where does this leave Molina and Kirkland, who were rated No. 5 and No. 6 respectively going into the fight?

One member of the Advisory Panel suggested we flip Molina and Kirkland – lifting Kirkland to No. 5 and dropping Molina to No. 6 – because the official result is the official result.

Other members of the panel suggested that Molina not be punished because of what they believe was an unjustified disqualification in a fight he was winning.

THE RING Editorial Board agreed with the majority. If any result was inconclusive, this was it. Thus, we decided to leave the fighters where they are.

Margules also said he will petition the WBC for an immediate rematch. If that happens, barring another weird outcome, the fighters will determine where they belong in the ratings.


Heavyweight: Tomasz Adamek (No. 3 last week) easily outpointed unrated Nagy Aguilera on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., to retain his position.

Junior middleweight: Sergei Dzinziruk (No. 10 last week) drops out because he hasn’t fought in more than a year. Delvin Rodriguez enters at No. 10.

Welterweight: Jan Zaveck (No. 8 last week) easily outpointed unrated Bethel Ushona on Saturday in Slovenia to retain his position.

Junior welterweight: Danny Garcia (No. 7 last week) rises to No. 4 after defeating Erik Morales (No. 5 last week) by a unanimous decision to win the WBC title Saturday in Houston. Morales drops to No. 9.

Meanwhile, Zab Judah (No. 6 last week) moves up a notch after stopping Vernon Paris (No. 10 last week) in nine rounds Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y. Paris drops out, which leaves room for Humberto Soto to enter at No. 10.

Lucas Matthysse (No. 4 last week) drops to No. 6.

Junior lightweight: Diego Magdaleno (No. 6 last week) retains his position after stopping unrated Fernando Beltran in seven rounds Friday in Tucson, Ariz.

Junior featherweight: Jeffrey Mathebula (unrated last week) enters at No. 6 after defeating Takalani Ndlovu (No. 6 last week) by a split decision to win the IBF title Saturday in South Africa. Ndlovu drops to No. 7 and knocks Nos. 7-9 down one notch each. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (No. 10 last week) drops out.

Flyweight: Hernan Marquez (No. 1 last week) outpointed unrated Richie Mepranum on Saturday in Mexico to retain his position. And Rocky Fuentes (No. 6 last week) stopped unrated Javier Franco in six rounds Saturday in the Philippines to retain his position.



Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)

Cruiserweight: Mateusz Masternak (No. 10) vs. Felipe Romero (Saturday)

Super middleweight: Arthur Abraham (No. 10) vs. Piotr Wilczewski (Saturday)

Junior bantamweight: Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (No. 2) vs. Yota Sato (No. 7) (Tuesday); Omar Narvaez (No. 1) vs. Jose Cabrera (Saturday)

Strawweight: Nkosinathi Joyi (No. 1) vs. Katsunari Takayama (No. 8) (Friday)




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