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Austin Stops Golota, McCline Decisions Mollo

Andrew Golota Jameel McCline Mike MolloBy Jason Kim: In a terribly boring fight, former three-time title challenger Jameel McCline (39-9-3, 23 KOs) defeated undersized Mike Mollo (19-3, 12 KOs) by a 12-round unanimous decision in the World Boxing Council (WBC) title eliminator on Friday night at the Sichuan Gymnasium, in Chengdu, China. The final judges’ scores were 116-112, 116-111 and 114-113. McCline, now 38, has previously failed three times in title challenges against Wladimir Klitschko, Nikolay Valuev and Samuel Peter. However, with his win over Mollo, McCline is set for future title shot against Vitali Klitschko, if the Ukrainian survives his likely next fight against Juan Carlos Gomez.

McCline and Mollo did little actual fighting in the early going, choosing to wrestle and throw weak shots on the inside. McCline hardly threw any punches in rounds one through five. During the first two rounds, McCline and Mollo fought cautiously, posing a lot and appearing afraid to let their hands go.

If the fight had occurred in any place but China, the fans would have most likely been booing their heads of due to the inaction in the fight. Both fighters were stinking up the joint and treating each other as knockout threats rather than just decent punchers, which is more of what they actually are.

In the 6th round, McCline finally landed a small handful of power shots to the head of Mollo. It wasn’t much, but Mollo did next to nothing himself in the round other than wrestle like crazy on the inside and clinch. McCline did well in the 7th round, landing several right hands. Mollo was warned by the referee for charging in with his head.

The 8th round was filled with clinches, most initiated by Mollo, who appeared to be tiring out badly. However, his right eye was cut and he also had dark bruising under his left eye. McCline, though, did every little in the round, missing most of his power shots.

In rounds nine through twelve, McCline took over the fight, hitting a tiring Mollo with good right hands and trying hard to keep him at a distance with a pitiful jab. Mollo spent most of the time draped on McCline, wrestling him, occasionally holding and hitting and clinching often. He looked positively exhausted, and no longer able to fight back effectively against McCline.

In the 12th, Mollo was docked a point for a low blow. However, by this time, he needed a knockout to win and the point deduction mattered little. He was too exhausted to do much other than clinch, unfortunately, and lost the round and the fight because of it.

In other action on the card, aging heavyweight contenders Andrew Golota (41-7-1, 33 KOs) was stopped at the end of the first round by Ray Austin (26-4-4, 17 KOs) after Golota dislocated his left elbow in the round.

After the round ended, Golota’s corner stopped the fight due to the severe injury to his elbow. Golota, 40, was dropped seconds in the first round by a big left hook from Austin. Golota got up from the knockdown at the count of five and received a standing eight count from referee Michael Griffin. After the action resumed, Austin went after Golota with big wide shots, most of them missing by a mile. He did connect with several. However, moments later, after taking a shot to his left arm, Golota looked down at his left elbow and seemed deeply concerned.

In the meantime, Austin continued to hit him with shots, tagging him with a big left hook that knocked Golota off balance. Golota looked at the referee, as if he wanted him to step in and halt the fight. He didn’t, though. Golota then turned his back on Austin and walked back to the ropes, standing sideways to Austin.

Golota was then nailed with a big left hand, at which point he started to cover up, seeing that the referee wasn’t about to stop the fight. Austin then backed Golota up to the corner and hit him with several hard combinations.

The referee then stepped in and pulled Austin off of Golota, walking Austin back to the far corner so that Golota could check on his eye that was briefly injured. It’s not clear why the referee pulled Austin off of Golota, because there seemed to be little reason to do so, and he never had him check out by the ringside doctor.

In effect, he seemed to have bout Golota a little more time. At this point, Golota again turned his back and walked to the corner, looking as if he wanted to quit. However, the referee continued the action rather than stopping the fight. Austin then tagged Golota with a hard left hand to the head as Golota walked straight into the punch.

When they came into a clinch, Golota suddenly looked in great pain as Austin put pressure on his injured left elbow. When the action resumed, Golota held his left arm by his side, looking as if he was unable to use it. Indeed, when he would try to throw it, his arm would flap strangely as if it were broken.

A short time later, after several wild misses from Austin, he dropped Golota to the canvas with a hard left hand to the head. The referee, however, ruled it a slip instead of a knockdown. It appeared to be a legitimate knockout. In the last seconds of the round, Austin flurried in a near helpless Golota, clubbing him over and over with big right hands to the head and knocking his mouthpiece out. In between rounds, the fight was stopped by Golota’s corner due to his injury to his elbow.

With this defeat, Golota’s career is in question. While he can clearly come back from this injury in time, his age (40) would make it highly unlikely that he’ll be able to fight well enough to beat a top contender.

To be sure, he looked terribly slow against Austin, lacking hand speed and showing deteriorated reflexes. He never was fast even in his prime, but at 40, Golota appears to have slowed down dramatically in recent years. Even if he were to somehow land a title fight against one of the champions, it’s doubtful whether Golota has enough left to be competitive against any of them.

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