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Kirkland vs Molina, Trout vs Rodriguez, Williams and Lara: Junior Middleweight Talks All Around

Delvin Rodriguez is suddenly, and deservedly, an in-demand name. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Delvin Rodriguez is suddenly, and deservedly, an in-demand name. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Steve Kim of says tonight that there are ongoing talks that involve junior middleweight contenders James Kirkland and Delvin Rodriguez, but not for a fight with one another. There have been rumblings that those two could be matched on February 18, but other opponents are indeed being considered, and one fight might be all but a done deal.

[ Related: Kirkland vs Rodriguez Rumors ]

Kim reports that attorney Mike Miller, who represents Kirkland, says the Austin power puncher will face Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KO) on HBO Boxing After Dark in Houston. Kirkland has been tied to a February 18 date, which has also been tied to a fight with Marcos Maidana against Devon Alexander, making for a pretty strong double-header overall.

Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO) reclaimed some of his lost buzz with a brutal beating of Alfredo Angulo in Cancun on November 5, which featured a Round of the Year contender in the first frame, and then five rounds of the Texan demolishing a gassed out Angulo before a mercy stoppage in the sixth.

Molina, 28, hasn't fought since his July 9 manhandling of Kermit Cintron on Showtime. That was supposed to be a comeback showcase for the Puerto Rican, his first fight under the Top Rank banner, but he was just totally dominated, mentally and physically, by a more determined opponent. Earlier in the year, Molina returned from a two-year exile when issues with ex-promoter Don King were finally settled, and scored a surprising draw with hyped Cuban Erislandy Lara on Friday Night Fights.

Molina has also recently been linked to a potential fight with Paul Williams on January 21, as Showtime is reportedly working on a double-header featuring Williams and Lara in separate fights, likely hoping to hype a rematch of their incredibly controversial July 9 fight on HBO, which Williams won on shocking scorecards that later saw the three judges suspended by the state of New Jersey. Without Molina, there would still be options out there for Williams, but they're limited.

[ Related: Showtime Working on Williams/Lara Show ]

Personally, I don't believe Williams vs Lara is a rematch that you're going to hype, since neither of them are likely to pick up a big fanbase at their ages. I'd just go for it if that were even an idea -- I don't even feel the need to see a rematch, but Lara, like Molina, is spinning his wheels, unable to get fights, so do it. January 21 sounds like a good date to me, but then that's neither here nor there.

As for Delvin Rodriguez, Kim says there's "real interest" on both sides in a fight between Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KO) and WBA "regular" titlist Austin Trout (24-0, 14 KO).

Rodriguez, of course, was last seen on December 3, beating Pawel Wolak in a rematch on the Cotto vs Margarito undercard. Trout last fought on November 11, finally getting U.S. TV with a ShoBox bout, but it was unfortunately a truly embarrassing mismatch that became hopelessly awful to watch after a few rounds, as overmatched Aussie club fighter Frank LoPorto was in way, way, way over his head.

Of course, that's not really Austin Trout's fault, and if he gets a fight with Delvin Rodriguez or another good contender, then that's great news. Trout, 26, deserves a breakout chance, and both he and Rodriguez, 31, know what it's like to be on the outside looking in while power promoters dictate what's on the two biggest networks -- and yes, comparatively, the likes Gary Shaw and Lou DiBella are power promoters, even though those two cry over the injustices they face (when it suits them, anyway) due to the existence of Top Rank and Golden Boy.

It's a win-win fight, and surely one of the two big networks would be interested in spending a few hundred thousand dollars to make that fight happen on TV. They've earned it, it's not an expensive fight, and it's a good fight on paper.

Anyway, we'll see how this all shakes out, of the lot here -- Kirkland, Rodriguez, Trout, Molina -- you can't really make a bad fight.

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