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Molitor Defeats Ruiz, Looks Poor

Steve MolitorBy Chris Williams: In his first bout since being easily defeated by Celestino Caballero in a 4th round TKO, former International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor (29-1, 11 KO’s) defeated Heriberto Ruiz (41-8-2, 23 KO’s) by a 12-round split decision on Friday night at the Casino Rama, in Rama, Ontario, Canada.

The final judges’ scores were 116-112, 116-112 for Molitor, and 116-112 for Ruiz. Molitor, 29, looked bad, fighting cautiously through most of the fight and looking as if he were afraid to get hit. It’s not surprising given how Caballero wiped the deck with Molitor last time out, but I expected a little stronger performance from Molitor than he showed on Friday night, because he looked barely better than the 8th ranked IBF contender Ruiz.

Since the super bantamweight is stacked with quality fighters like Caballero, Rafael Marquez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Ricardo Cordona. Bernabe Conception and Bernard Dunne, I tend to doubt that Molitor will be able to win back his IBF title or any of the other ones for that matter.

In the first three rounds, neither Molitor or Ruiz threw more than a handful of punches as the cautiously circled the ring, using feints and throwing almost zero punches. In the first minute of each of the first three rounds there were no punches thrown, and the crowd began to boo for lack of action.

For a Canadian fighter to be booed, it’s a rare thing because the fans are usually totally devoted and forgiving of their home town fighters. However, the crowd was having none of Molitor’s cautious safety first style of fighting and let him hear about it.

Molitor, however, didn’t change a thing, and continue to circle the ring throwing very few punches. He looked for the most part that of a shell shocked fighter and didn’t seem to want to get hit in the head. It’s strange, though, because Ruiz is far from a being a hard puncher and he presented very little threat to Molitor. As such, Ruiz seemed to get the better of the action in the first four rounds due to Molitor’s timid behavior.

The 5th round was just as dull as the first four with neither fighter doing much of anything. Molitor, though, landed a few good left hands but that was about the extent of it. Ruiz tried landing. However, Molitor retreated backwards each time that Ruiz would attempt to engage, leaving Ruiz hitting empty air.

Molitor would have done better if he had stood his ground and tried to catch Ruiz coming in with combinations instead of retreating backwards all the time and stinking up the joint in the process. Molitor seemed to get the better of the action in the 6th, landing a few left hands.

It was close though and hard to tell who won the round because Ruiz landed a number of good shots of his own and was the aggressor. Molitor would have been better of had he chosen to take the attack against Ruiz instead of waiting for him to attack him each time.

Sometimes Ruiz wasn’t interested in doing the attacking and the result would be that both fighters would just stare each other doing nothing. It was horrible to watch, believe me.

Molitor was cut near the scalp in the 7th after a clash of heads. The blood would be a problem in the subsequent rounds as it would leak into Molitor’s left eye causing him problems seeing. There was little action in the 7th and 8th rounds, and the crowd hated it, booing almost nonstop. Neither fighter showed any concern about booing and continued to fight as if they were deathly afraid of being knocked out. Molitor looked mentally shot and Ruiz just looked like an average fighter who didn’t want to fight.

In rounds nine through twelve, Molitor seemed to get a surge of confidence somehow, because he began to take the attack to Ruiz and get the better of him with short two punch combinations. The rounds were still dull to watch with both fighters throwing few punches, but at least Molitor took control over the fight and showed that he was the better fighter during this portion of the bout.

I can’t say I was impressed with Molitor’s win. I think the knockout loss to Caballero did something to Molitor because he fought a lot like Woman boxer Natasha Ragosina, a fighter that is known for just bouncing around landing a handful of punches each round. I think Molitor needs to move down in weight because I can’t see him winning any of the titles at super bantamweight. He’d stand a better chance at bantamweight, although not much better. If Molitor stays at super bantamweight I see him getting destroyed in a rematch with IBF super bantamweight champion Caballero. That won’t even be competitive.

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