Wilder Stops Molina

By Robert Ecksel on June 13, 2015
Wilder Stops Molina
“We’re thinkers. We like to think in the ring. I was cool and collected." (Mark Almond)

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder successfully defended his title by stopping Eric Molina at 1:03 of round nine…

Saturday night at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs), from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, successfully defended his title by stopping tougher than expected Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KOs), from Raymondville, Texas, at 1:03 of round nine.

Wilder won the WBC title in January by defeating Bermane Stiverne. In his first defense of the crown, in front of an enthusiastic Alabaman crowd, the fight wasn’t the public execution most expected.

The champion relied on his superior size, strength and athleticism to drop Molina once in round four and twice in round five. But Molina, who looked as soft in the ring as he looked inexperienced on paper, put up more of a fight than anyone anticipated.

Molina hurt Wilder in round three and had him on the defensive several times throughout the fight. There was little doubt who would win the fight, not when the ink was still wet on the contract nor when referee Jack Reiss waved it off in the ninth. But Molina, who was ranked #7 by the WBC, proved that he was a worthy opponent and that Wilder, despite adding a left hook to his arsenal, is a fighter who can be beaten if the right man gets his hands on him at the right time.

Wilder has been deservedly celebrated for returning the heavyweight title, or a portion of the heavyweight title, to the U.S. But there were moments during the fight against Molina when he looked like a rank amateur. Wild swings and misses counterbalanced the booming shots Wilder landed, and while he may still be a work in progress, there are holes in his defense and a troubling lack of control that a more seasoned challenger, if a more seasoned challenger can be found, and preferably one of comparable size, should be able to exploit.

When the fight was over, Wilder thanked God and Al Haymon, in that order, before shouting, “Alabama, what’s up baby!” He calmed down a bit and said, “Yo, I love you guys. Thank you for the support. This is what it’s all about. We made history tonight, baby. I love you guys. Alabama all day.”

Jim Gray asked the champ about the surprising performance of Eric Molina.

“It does my heart so good,” said Wilder, “for me to stand in front of him right now and say this man’s got heart. All the critics doubted him. All the naysayers said he wouldn’t be able to last. But I’m so proud of him. He’s got my support from this point on because this is the first ever title defense in any weight division in the state of Alabama and what I needed was a tough guy. I needed a guy who had heart. I needed a guy that was going to get dropped and get back up and try to steal the fight. I needed it—and I got that out of him. It wouldn’t have done that crowd of the state of Alabama no good to see a quick knockout, because half of them ain’t never been to a boxing match and some of them it’s their first time. So I respect him and I thank him for the opportunity to come and accept the challenge for the people of the great state of Alabama.”

Having praised Molina and Alabama, Wilder was more thoughtful when discussing himself.

“We’re thinkers,” he said. “We like to think in the ring. We don’t like to rush now. You see I was cool and collected. I was picking my shots. That’s what it’s all about. I used to be wild. Right now, we’re just trying to become a technician and box. I’m still a work and progress and learning. I always try to tell myself, once I stop learning, I don’t want to be in this sport no more. I have fun when I’m learning. When I’m a know-it-all, there’s nothing left to learn. That’s not fun.”

Wilder’s next fight should be against Alexander Povetkin, the WBC mandatory. Not sure how that fight will transpire, but I’m almost certain it will be fun.

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  1. Big Wally 01:16pm, 06/16/2015

    Very enjoyable fight

  2. nicolas 10:28am, 06/14/2015

    Since Haymon has been bring fights to free TV, isn’t it interesting that the better fights have been on free TV, and not on Showtime or HBO.

  3. Pete The Sneak 07:11am, 06/14/2015

    Wilder does not convince me at all…Molina, who hardly threw anything, had Wilder doing the Jelly legs there once or twice when he did throw something and connected… If Molina would have been even half way busier when he did hit Wilder, who knows…All I know is, he better stay away from Wlad and yeah, I think Povetkin will give Wilder all he can handle…Peace

  4. Clarence George 10:44pm, 06/13/2015

    I don’t have a high opinion of Wilder and would be surprised if he beat Povetkin.  But I’ve been surprised before.  I didn’t think, for example, that Molina would make it past the third.  More to the point, neither did Wilder.

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