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Kirkland needs to take Molina out early to avoid problems

James KirklandBy Jim Dower: The sooner junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO’s) gets Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KO’s) out of there tonight in their 10 round bout the better. Kirkland, 28, and Molina square off at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas, on the undercard of the Erik Morales vs Danny Garcia card. Kirkland is coming off of the biggest win of his career in a 6th round TKO win over #1 WBC 154 pound contender Alfredo Angulo last November.

That was the big fight for Kirkland, #2 WBC, #3 WBO, because it was the first real opponent he had faced since being knocked down three times in the process of being stopped in the 1st round by Nobuhiro Ishida last April. Kirkland had rebounded from that loss to win two consecutive fights against lower level opposition going into his fight with Angulo. A lot of boxing fans saw Kirkland losing to Angulo, because leading up to that fight Angulo had been taking apart all of his opponents with quick knockouts.

It looked like Kirkland was going to be another one of Angulo’s early knockouts win Kirkland was knocked to the canvas in the 1st round by a short right hand from Angulo. Kirkland would take a ton of punishment in the round before turning things around with a hard left hand that hurt Angulo. Kirkland then poured it on and knocked Angulo down before the round ended. From there, Kirkland dominated the rest of the fight until stopping a tired Angulo out in the 6th.

Tonight, Kirkland will have someone in front of him in Molina, #6 IBF, #13 WBA, #15 WBC, who won’t fade as badly as Angulo did. Molina doesn’t punch as hard as Angulo, to be sure, but he hits hard enough to possibly stop Kirkland if he’s able to linger for the full 10 rounds. This is why Kirkland needs to go for broke early to try and get him out quickly before Molina’s punches start piling up.

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