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James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina: Round-by-Round Recap and Analysis

By Nick Tylwalk

World Championship Boxing comes to us live from the heart of Texas, Houston to be exact. Erik Morales and Danny Garcia will clash in the main event, but this is a doubleheader, so first up is James Kirkland versus Carlos Molina.

Jim Lampley calls Kirkland one of the most enigmatic fighters in boxing, and that's hard to argue. Clips are shown from his tremendous battle with Alfredo Angulo, which saw him recover from a first round knockdown to batter his opponent into a TKO.

Michael Buffer is ready for the fighter introductions as the fighters are already in the ring. Jon Shorle is tonight's referee. Molina is 19-4-2, but with just six KO victories, while Kirkland is 30-1 with 27 KOs. And with the formalities out of the way, we're all set for a scheduled 12 rounds of super welterweight action.

Round 1

Molina gets busy with his jab and left hook. Kirkland works on trying to walk him down. Molina ducks in to touch Kirkland to the body with both hands. He tries the one-two upstairs as well. Molina grabs Kirkland, then punches after letting go. Molina keeps picking away with light punches, but he opens up with some harder shots to the head. Kirkland really has not been able to get untracked.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 2

Molina's trainer liked that first round, and it's hard to blame him. Kirkland's corner wants more punches from him. He tries some quick uppercuts and straight lefts. Molina is doing just enough to make his opponent miss. Molina lets some more hooks go, but Kirkland lands his first truly flush shot. Molina pushes Kirkland all the way back to the ropes. Nice counter shot by Molina after taking a left hand. Kirkland tries to go to the body. Shorle tells both men to let each other go.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 3

Neither man has been particularly accurate so far. Molina backs away but still manages to connect with a left hook. Molina sticks and moves, landing and then backing away as Kirkland tries to punch his way out of the corner. Molina keeps throwing with both hands. Emanuel Steward talks about the way Molina is holding and smothering Kirkland. Molina lands two left hooks.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 4

Harold Lederman also has it 3-0 for Molina to this point. He goes to the body twice and once to the head before Kirkland dissuades him with an uppercut. Kirkland lands a combination, and Shorle has to stop things for Molina to get another mouthpiece. Molina continues his attack, and Kirkland responds with an uppercut. Molina spends about 20 seconds bewildering his foe with head movement. When Molina lets his hands go, he crashes home a few clean right hands. The left hook scores as well, and Molina dominated the final minute of that round.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 5

Kirkland's best hope seems to be to land one huge uppercut that will turn the fight around. Molina snaps the left hook again. There's a left and a right hook from Kirkland. Molina gets backed into the ropes by a left hand. Molina fires a left hook and avoids the counter. They wrestle again, and you wonder who will be more tired out from this. More left hooks and a solid right hand from Molina. Two more shots find the target for Molina as the round ends.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Kirkland

Round 6

Molina has a little bit of a red mark under his left eye. He opens with a right hand; Kirkland goes to the body. Kirkland jabs his way in, and Molina grabs him around the neck. An uppercut and two hooks drive Molina back. Kirkland tries desperately to get his hands free on the inside. Molina lands a right, but Kirkland stays busy. They trade body shots in the center of the ring. Molina lands two left hooks while rotating around Kirkland. Both men score in the closing seconds.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 7

Molina comes right out landing to the body and head. Shorle has to stop things briefly to fix the tape on Kirkland's gloves. Krikland touches Molina to the body and just misses a nasty hook. Molina lands the straight right; Kirkland fires the jab. The crowd starts a "Molina" chant. He lands two to the body before clinching. Molina lands a right hand, then another as Kirkland tries to battle his way off the ropes.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 8

Max Kellerman thinks Kirkland has been "curiously subdued" in this fight. Molina is smothering most of his efforts in the first minute of this round. Kirkland lands some short shots, though Molina's left hook is still finding the target. There's a combo by Molina followed by repeated body shots along the ropes. Molina's fans like that. Molina picks his spots perfectly with the right hand and dances back to the corner at the bell.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Molina

Round 9

Ann Wolfe implores Kirkland to muscle Molina in response to the tactics he's been facing. He has a brief burst of activity with Molina's back in the ropes, but doesn't land anything too devastating. Molina lands a right hand and returns to his clinching. Molina lands a one-two while Kellerman talks to Wolfe in the corner. Kirland lands a jab and a hook. They trade for a moment, then Kirkland tries to turn up the pressure again in the final 10 seconds.

Tylwalk: 10-9 Kirkland

Round 10

Kirkland finally gets some momentum going with a hard right hand. Molina manages to grab his way out of trouble repeatedly. Kirkland chases Molina arouns, looking for a big follow-up shot. Kirlkland fires a left to the body as Molina tries to fire back with a right. Molina swings wildly and Kirkland goes down, but Shorle rules it a slip. They grapple in the corner and Molina is warned about hitting on the break. Both fighters look tired now. Kirkland lands right before the bell, and it's a knockdown. Molina beats the count, as the round is over.

Someone from Kirkland's corner comes in to celebrate, and confusion reigns for a bit. Replay shows it was a right hand that knocked Molina down, and while the count was at about five, someone from Molina's corner entered the ring. That makes it a DQ victory for Kirkland, or at least that's the ruling by the referee. Lederman calls it an atrocious call by the ref, especially since it came a minute or two after the infraction occurred. Buffer says Shorle had "no choice" but to stop the fight during his reading of the official decision, which seems to be a very... um, interesting way of putting it.

The winner by disqualification at the end of Round 10, James "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland.

Naturally, the fans hate that call. They won't like this either: Jim Lampley reveals that the official scores at the time of the DQ were 88-83 Molina, 87-84 Molina and, incredulously, 86-85 Kirkland. Steward even has questions about the knockdown.

Kellerman asks Kirkland about the ending of the fight, but James brushes it off and talks about the way the bout went in general. Max persists, and Kirkland says he would have liked to finish the fight. Wolfe also says she would have rather seen it go to the end, admitting that Molina was probably winning but liking her fighter's chances since he had just dropped Molina. Honorably, Kirkland says he would love to do a rematch.

Kellerman turns to Molina, who says he felt good, and he got up right away. Carlos has no explanation for the judge who had him down on the cards, but he would also be down for a second go-round with Kirkland - as soon as possible.

Get more boxing news, recaps and analysis over at Boxing Watchers.


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