Junior middleweight James Kirkland of Texas will be back in the spotlight and under the microscope again on March 24th at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas when he takes on Carlos Molina of Mexico in a 10-round bout.
Kirkland froze against Nobihiru Ishida of Japan in April 2011 and was knocked out in the very first round. It derailed his career at the time since he was hailed as a can’t-miss prospect. However, he’s bounced back nicely and has gone 3-0 since then with two of the wins by TKO. His sixth-round TKO against Alfredo Angulo in his last outing in November was one of the best fights of the year with both boxers suffering knockdowns in the first round.
Since Ishida knocked Kirkland out, Molina appears to be a legitimate opponent, but if Kirkland hadn’t suffered that defeat Molina may be seen as a bit of a mismatch. However, Molina has some decent wins over some pretty good opponents in Kermit Cintron and Allen Conyers and fought to a draw against Erislandy Lara. He could do enough to upset Kirkland as he’s considered to be a better fighter than Ishida.
The 27-year-old Kirkland, with a record of 30-1, with 27 KOs, has tremendous power and seems to be one of those fighters who is going to win or lose by KO each time out. His defence is questionable and he doesn’t possess the best chin in the business, but the southpaw has a lot of heart and determination. The 28-year-old Molina has a record of 19-4-2, with just 6KOs and doesn’t appear to have the power to hurt Kirkland, but the same was said about Ishida. They both stand a 5-foot-9 and have identical 70-inch reaches.
Kirkland can’t afford to lose another fight against a lesser-known opponent if he’s going to become one of the top junior middleweights in the game. He needs to win this fight and needs to do it impressively. If Molina should happen to win he’ll rise up the rankings and should get another fight with a big-name opponent or even an eventual title shot. If he loses, he’ll likely be forgotten pretty quickly.
Kirkland will probably test Molina early with his power and attempt to land some solid left hands. He has a lot of speed and if Molina can’t match it or keep Kirkland off of him he’s going to be in trouble. Kirkland isn’t really interested in going to the scorecards so look for him to try and end the fight as early as he can. If Molina can take Kirkland’s best shots then he has an excellent chance of winning the bout, most likely by a decision.
However, it’s hard to imagine that Molina can stand up to Kirkland’s powerful shots and he’ll eventually be broken down and sent to the canvas. Look for Kirkland to win this fight by a stoppage in the first five rounds.
Kirkland vs Molina Odds
Sportsbook 5dimes.com has the current odds of a Kirkland win listed at -220 and a Molina victory at +180. Visit 5Dimes.com to bet on this fight. Be sure to use 5Dimes marketing code AF0002879 when opening an account in order to receive the best bonus available at the time. To learn more check out our boxing betting page.