Carlos Molina and Erislandy Lara Both Slipping Through the Cracks

Junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina is understandably upset by the fact that despite beating Kermit Cintron in July and fighting impressively this year before that, he's still being passed over when it comes to bigger fights, most notably Cintron receiving an undeserved title shot at Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on November 26. From Dan Rafael:

"That sums it up right there, the way boxing is," a dejected Molina said. "I won the fight and they give the shot to the guy I beat. They didn't even offer me the fight. Why?"

His promoter Leon Margules added this:

"He outboxes these guys with old-school techniques. So why is he getting stepped over for a shot at Canelo?

"It's not like HBO tried to make the better fight and Carlos wasn't available. His phone never rang. Situations like this are a problem for our sport. It's disgraceful. Maybe with the new regime beginning over at HBO, these kinds of things will no longer happen."

Sadly, this is not a unique situation. The man with whom Molina drew in March, Erislandy Lara, is also not hearing his phone ring now that he's proven his worth with a pathetic robbery "loss" to Paul Williams, a fight nobody thinks Lara really lost.

Both fighters are top ten guys in the division, arguably both top five guys at this point. They had their draw against each other, then went out and beat a pair of fighters who were considered clear favorites. And yet they get nothing for it. Molina is working as a sparring partner right now, for guys like Brian Vera. Isn't there something wildly wrong with that picture?

Tim Elfrink had a great, in-depth piece on Lara at the Miami New Times. It discusses Lara's past, his defection from Cuba, the difficult decisions that go along with that, the Williams disgrace, and what's next. But, well, nothing's next right now, because nobody is calling him up, same as nobody is ringing Molina's phone.

There was talk that Lara could fight Sergiy Dzinziruk. That talk came and went.

In a sport where nobody is forced to fight anybody they don't want to fight, these things happen. Good fighters slip through the cracks. Opportunities come and then go, with the fighter unable to capitalize on momentum. Frankly, if Molina and Lara sit around twiddling their thumbs too long, there's a very legitimate chance that they'll never be in this position again. They could come back and lose a fight, and then what?

Without big fanbases, without TV-made names, they're just fighters, good enough to be avoided, not so good they can force their way in.

But I'll promise you that they both deserve fights that are going to guys like Kermit Cintron, and quite frankly will continue to go to guys like Kermit Cintron. Cintron may see yet another title shot after Alvarez (should Cintron lose as expected) before either Molina or Lara get their first. Cintron has that TV name, but he's no longer good enough to be feared.

He's now the type of guy matchmakers and promoters love. Molina and Lara are the type of fighter they hate.

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