Canada may not be a country famed for it’s fighting prowess but the scene there is in it’s fledgling years. You may think that the world’s second largest country has nothing to boast about other than ice hockey and the CN tower. I strongly recommend that you change your views pretty quickly because, although the winter offers sub zero temperatures, in the world of boxing at least, the place is scorching hot.
At the Casino Rama, in Rama, Ontario tonight Steve Molitor, one of the leading lights of this Canadian revolution, looks to add another name to his impressive and unblemished résumé when he takes on Mexico’s Ricardo Castillo, younger brother of future first ballot hall of famer Jose Luis, on a Allan Tremblay/Orion Sports Management promotion.
The contest will be Molitor’s third defence of the 122 pound IBF title he acquired by dismantling the previously undefeated Michael Hunter in front of a very hostile English crowd in late 2006.
On that glorious night in Hartlepool, "The Canadian Kid" proved that, despite only having a knock out record of 40 percent, he can land hurtful punches and put his opponent away when the opportunity presents itself.
He followed that stunning win up with another stoppage victory, his fourth in a row, this time over South African former IBO titlist Takalani Ndlovu – a man who holds a win over this weekend’s challenger Castillo.
Last time out the 27 year old champion had a much tougher time than expected as he was taken the full twelve round distance by former Manny Pacquiao victim Fahsan 3K Battery. Molitor had predicted that he would take care of business in six rounds or less and, as a result, he disposed of his usual classy style, resorting to headhunting and loading up his shots.
This weekend he isn’t predicting another early night but he still foresees himself retaining his crown in emphatic fashion.
"Castillo’s a tough guy and he’s going to come forward and attack me," he told the Toronto Star earlier this week, "but I’m going to put on a boxing clinic like I always do."
The former Commonwealth Champion has suffered with his hands in recent fights and regularly takes trips to see a hand specialist but he doesn’t feel that his tender paws will cause him any problems in this fight. He said: "I’m not concerned about my hands. I’m ready to get in there and let them fly."
Like his older and more famous sibling Ricardo Castillo, 33-4 (22), is a relentless pressure fighter. He may not have fought at the lofty heights that his brother has, but he has some good wins under his belt and has challenged for a world championship before.
That title tilt came in March of last year when he squared off with the freakishly tall Panamanian Celestino Caballero, the later’s WBA bauble being on the line.
That evening in Hollywood, Florida he was forced to eat several flush shots and after nine one sided rounds the fight was declared over when Jose Luis jumped onto the ring apron and called for an end to his brother’s punishment. The elder brother’s entrance caused the official result to be marked down as a disqualification.
Despite losing two of the last three, the Mexican challenger is no pushover and the Caballero defeat is the nearest he’s ever been to being stopped in his 37 fight career.
Verdict: Molitor will put in a much more conservative effort than his recent bouts and box out a unanimous decision, although I wouldn’t bet against the champion becoming the first man to halt Castillo.