Kermit Cintron (born in Puerto Rico, living in Pennsylvania, training in Houston; age 31; 32-3-1 with 28 KOs ), the ex welterweight champion, thought he'd collect himself after his bizarre loss to Paul Williams more than a year ago, in which he fell out of the ring, and then couldn't, or some say wouldn't, continue the fight. He envisioned himself spending time with his kids, getting his brain drained, restoring some of his fire, and then returning to the top of the food chain at 154 pounds. He probably didn't envision Carlos Molina (age 28; from Chicago, and Mexico; 18-4-2 with 6 KOs entering) treating him so rudely in his comeback scrap, in the TV opener of Showtime's broadcast which unfolded at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA on Saturday evening.
Molina looked like the man with the titles on his resume, like the heavy favorite, as he got cooking in the the third round, fell into a comfortable rhythm, and gave Cintron the business. The judges saw it 98-92, 98-92, 98-92, after ten rounds, and Cintron's face and reaction told all that he didn't have any beef with the call.
This was Cintron's first gig in 14 months. Molina too hasn't been busy, because of a contract beef with ex promoter Don King.
In the early part of this catchweight clash with a max weight of 152 pounds, Molina looked a weight class lower, while Kermit tried to land some thunder, and both set things up with the jab. Kermit's timing looked solid; rust wasn't apparent early. Molina heated up in the third, and was on even firmer ground to start the fourth. Kermit's trainer Ronnie Shields told him he was falling behind after the fourth, and commanded him to pick it up.
Was it rust that allowed Molina, unbeaten in his last 11 fights, to get into a nice rhythm? Molina found things that worked. A one-two, banging to the body, uppercuts...Molina had a solid round five. Shields got back to work after the fifth, telling Kermit he was getting outworked.
Kermit's jab too often was of the half-arse variety. He'd push it three quarters of the way to the head, and rendered it fairly useless. Molina was scoring with both hands, and had Cintron backing up. Blood leaked from his nose.
Kermit's right hand was usually slow, and short, though he had some luck with the left hook. But Molina defended smartly. He'd smother and grab Cintron when necessary. At the end of the eighth, Kermit was in deep water, and not looking like he loved it. A right hand to the body, as Kermit bent over and sat on the ropes, tickled his ribs nastily.
Cintron scored with a heavy right in the last few seconds, but it was too little, way too late. We'd go to the cards.
Come back to TSS and read David Avila's ringside report.
SPEEDBAG Boxing Channel's Al Bernstein told viewers that in the late 80s and early 90s, he and the late Nick Charles had an agreement. Nick, at CNN, and Al, at ESPN, would switch off getting the first interview with the winner of mega fights. That is an astounding arrangement in a dog eat dog business. This speaks to the class of both men.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV