The fight between 154-pounders James Kirkland and Carlos Molina is official, reports Ryan Maquiñana, and will be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark on January 28.
This is the same date that could see a fight between Erik Morales and Danny Garcia in the main event, rather than the Marcos Maidana vs Devon Alexander card that is coming in February. Kirkland was originally linked to that show, but will instead move to January 28. Or Golden Boy could move Maidana vs Alexander date up, too. Nothing official has been set as far as venue for either fight, and the only talk for Maidana vs Alexander was "February" so far, so we'll see. (Houston is the supposed target for the January 28 card.)
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Either way, though, this fight is happening, which leaves Delvin Rodriguez and Austin Trout out there for one another, and as we said earlier, Steve Kim reports there is legitimate interest from both sides in making that fight for Trout's WBA "regular" title.
I rate Molina higher at 154 right now than I do Rodriguez, but I think this is a much less risky style matchup for Kirkland. Molina is crafty, but not with any sort of slickness -- he's there to be hit if you throw back, but his activity can overwhelm a guy like Erislandy Lara, who wanted to take his time and frankly probably looked past Molina a bit, or a Kermit Cintron who is a shot fighter not very enthusiastic about a tough fight anymore.
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Kirkland himself is very active, so that won't be a problem for him. Kirkland fights like an enraged bull, and while his chin has been an issue, Nobuhiro Ishida got him with pinpoint-type shots that floored an unsteady Kirkland, who had yet to reunite with trainer Ann Wolfe, and the shot Alfredo Angulo knocked him down with would have put just about anyone on the canvas.
To me, this fight is tailor-made for James Kirkland. That doesn't mean I don't like the fight, because I do. It's going to have action. But where I would have made Delvin Rodriguez, at the least, a very live 'dog, Carlos Molina is once again in the role of serious underdog, in my view.
Then again, he's been there before, and he doesn't really mind.