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Kirkland faces Molina in WBC semi-final eliminator on Saturday

James KirklandBy Jim Dower: James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO’s) has to pray his chin holds out on him this Saturday night in his semi-final WBC junior middleweight eliminator bout against Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KO’s) at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds, but it might not need to go the full distance if the recently improved Kirkland can get to Molina early with his nonstop assault.

Kirkland looked 100 percent improved in his last fight against Alfredo Angulo in stopping him in the 6th round last November. It was an improvement for the 28-year-old Kirkland from his 1st round knockout loss performance against Nobuhiro Ishida last year in April. Kirkland got back with his old trainer Ann Wolfe and shed the extra flab that he as carrying around for the Ishida loss. Still, Kirkland was knocked down in the 1st round by Angulo and there’s no telling what would have happened in that fight hand Angulo not run out of gas after only one round.

Molina, 28, has a really tough task in this fight to be able to nullify Kirkland’s offense and keep on his feet for 10 rounds. It’s doubtful that Molina will be able to stop Kirkland because he’s not that kind of fighter. However, Molina is a very good inside fighter and if he can get Kirkland in a war in the inside, this could favor Molina in a big way. He’s got to stay as close as possible to Kirkland because that’s about the only advantage that Molina has in this fight.

He’s not going to be able to out-slug Kirkland, and if he tries to he’ll likely get knocked out quickly. Molina looked really good in pulling off a 10 round decision upset against former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron in his last fight in July of last year. But the win was somewhat tarnished by how poorly Cintron fought in losing to WBC junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez recently.

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