It was back in late June that RING No. 6-rated junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina made what can be considered an uncharacteristic move for the usually understated and humble fighter.
Molina contacted RingTV.com to enter his name into the mix of those wishing to to face Mexican star and WBC titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after a succession of potential foes had failed to materialize for Alvarez.
“It would be like a Mexican civil war,” said Molina, who was coming off a controversial 10th-round disqualification loss to southpaw James Kirkland on HBO. “So I feel like with Canelo, I’m the next guy that should get that fight.”
Kirkland had been among a series of left-handed opponents who had been considered for Alvarez, including former three-time titleholder Paul Williams and Victor Ortiz.
“You know, I felt like I was beating Kirkland all throughout the fight, and I never got the rematch with Kirkland,” said Molina, a right-hander who took an unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with just two stoppages into the fight with Kirkland. “I think that I’m a very, very deserving opponent for a fight with Canelo, especially after he was going to fight Kirkland.”
Alvarez was initially slated to face Williams before Williams suffered a career-ending motorcycle accident on May that is believed to have left him paralyzed from the waist down. Next in line was Kirkland, who cited recovery from shoulder surgery on his right arm and money as his reasons for not taking the bout.
And then there was Ortiz, whose opportunity was foiled in June following a ninth-round knockout loss to Josesito Lopez during which Ortiz suffered a broken jaw. It is Lopez, ultimately, who was chosen to face Alvarez in September.
On Friday night, Molina (20-5-2, 6 knockouts) was back in the ring, where he dominated Cuban-born southpaw Damian Frias (19-5-1, 10 KOs) to a shutout unanimous decision in the 10-round main event in Miami, Okla.
“First of all, I don’t get frustrated. I’m not frustrated at all about things. I wish that I could make a big fight, and that all of those fights came to me easier. But I take it fight by fight,” said Molina.
“Without that sort of attitude, where you want to go out and dominate, then if I just win, then there’s no chance at a big fight. There is nothing. If I lose, then people will say, ‘Oh, it was just that little run that he had.’ But this is more than just a little run.”
In the wake of his triumph over Frias, Molina has renewed his call to be considered among those in the running for big fights, in general, and for Alvarez, in particular.
“I feel like just the movement that I have would give Alvarez a lot of difficulty,” said Molina. “He waits a little too much, and he fights in little spurts. I feel like I’m always picking at you and that I’m always constantly attacking.”
Molina’s professional track record may support his contention.
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.
Molina’s run heading into the Kirkland fight included a victory over former welterweight beltholder Kermit Cintron in July of last year and a draw with then-unbeaten Erislandy Lara in March of last year.
Two fights after losing to Molina, Cintron was stopped in the fifth round by Alvarez in a bout that transpired in November of last year.
“When Alvarez is fighting guys that I’ve already fought, and he’s challenging guys that I’ve already fought like Kermit Cintron and his challenge to James Kirkland, it makes you feel like, ‘wait a second, if they deserve a shot, then I deserve a shot also,’” said Molina.
“So, you know, hopefully, that will happen. But he’s got a tough fight with Josesito Lopez, so we’ll see what happens with that. You never, know, I mean, you can’t count out Josesito Lopez. He’s tough, and he’s going to bring it.”
On the same nght as Molina-Cintron, Lara lost a majority decision to Williams that most ringsiders believed Lara had won. Between bouts with Cintron and Lara, Molina scored a seventh-round stoppage of Allen Conyers last April.
During his streak, Molina also defeated welterweight fringe contender Ed Paredes by unanimous decision in April of 2009.
Paredes has gone 10-0-1 with eight knockouts since falling to Molina, whose last loss prior to Kirkland was by eight-round, majority decision against current unbeaten junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado.
Cotto, however, is also being considered for a return to New York’s Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1, if not a November rematch with Manny Pacquiao.
“I would have to say that, you know what? I would like to have that fight with Miguel Cotto on Dec. 1 in New York when he’s coming back. If I had to choose one, that would be my favorite, dream fight right there. I mean, it’s Miguel Cotto,” said Molina.
“Not only has Miguel Cotto been around for a while, but he just went 12 rounds with Mayweather, and you’ve got that Puerto Rican-Mexican rivalry right there. It would be just a fight that I would love to have. I don’t know what’s next. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully, though, I’ll get a big fight.”
Photos by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org