Carlos Molina added the biggest name to the win column of his CV, outlasting Cory Spinks over 12 rounds at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
With the win, Molina earned an IBF junior middleweight title shot against the winner of the Feb. 23 Showtime bout between Cornelius Bundrage and Ishe Smith.
The Chicago based boxer controlled the fight and won by scores of 119-106, 119-106 and 120-105.
Spinks, the former undisputed welterweight champion, was never in the fight and has lost his once trademark legs.
Molina, 29, placed well-timed left hooks and moved well against the past-his-prime fighter. He couldn’t miss with the overhand right and Spinks was on the defensive the whole fight, thought that once impregnable defense has drastically diminished.
Molina (21-5-2, 6 knockouts) did a great job on the inside, keeping his hands free while tying up Spink’s and has clearly progressed as a fighter.
The St. Louis native was deducted a point for holding in the ninth round, further adding to the hole he was in on the cards.
Spinks (39-8, 11 knockouts) was cleanly outboxed through nine rounds, but Molina really began pouring it on in the 10th, electing for more power shots. In the 11th, he dropped Spinks to all fours with a big left hook. He jumped on Spinks after his foe beat the count, determined to not let the judges ever rob him again, as he told RingTV.com earlier this week.
Anthony Hamm, Spinks’ trainer, had the white towel cocked back in his hand during the 11th round and it seemed like Molina might get the stoppage, but Spinks managed to survive.
He dropped Spinks, 34, a second time in the 12th when Spinks fell into the ropes in what seemed like pure exhaustion and the referee called it a knockdown, as the final seconds ticked off the clock of the fight and perhaps Spinks’ career.
While Molina didn’t get the knockout he desired, he won in impressive fashion and his plan remains on track.
“All I can do is keep winning and pretty soon there’s going to be no way around [avoiding me],” said Molina, THE RING’s No. 7-rated junior middleweight. “I just want to keep fighting and keep working towards that goal of being a world champ.”
Once considered one of the best prospects in the sport, Antwone Smith was an afterthought after four losses derailed his career. He’ll never be what many expected, but with his second solid win on national TV, he’s on the rebound.
Smith dominated former lightweight world champion Jose Luis Castillo in a welterweight fight, a unanimous decision victory by scores of 100-90, 98-92 and 99-91 in a welterweight fight. Smith controlled each round, countering well and dictating the pace of the fight.
Smith’s last fight came in Sept. 2012, a mild upset victory over Ronald Cruz on NBC Sports Net, and perhaps the biggest win of his career.
Castillo (64-12-1, 55 knockouts) has now lost three of his last seven fights and it’s unclear when the former great, who many consider the only man to ever defeat Floyd Mayweather, will call it quits. He’s 39 years old.
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