Wilder ices Molina in ninth to retain WBC title

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Deontay WilderDeontay Wilder is a strong man, man.

In what was an exciting fight in front of a sold-out crowd at the Barlow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title with a ninth-round knockout of a brave, resilient Eric Molina on Saturday evening.

Wilder knocked down Molina four times in the fight, with the conclusive counter right catching the former NABF champion flush, handing Wilder his 33rd knockout in 34 fights.

In the first round, both fighters were trying to feel each other out. Although Wilder was more active, he was showing a lot of caution while Molina was just as tentative.

In the second round, Molina asserted himself by throwing a variety of looping right hands and body shots. Wilder was landing the cleaner shots but was still fighting very cautiously, leaving many observers shocked and befuddled.

A majority had predicted Molina wouldn’t make it past the first round, including myself.

In the third, Molina delivered a wake-up call, a huge left hook which stunned Wilder momentarily, and perhaps left a chill in the spines of Wilder’s massive army on hand.

However, Wilder recovered to finish the round strong, but it was Molina who gained some fans in the process by standing tall and firm against the monster.

In the fourth round, Wilder, once again, was very patient. And like Robert Duvall in “Lonesome Dove,” the ‘Bronze Bomber’ seemed like he was intentionally coming up short to get Molina to get a little overconfident, thus making him a target for a big shot.

Wilder baited him and with Molina trapped in the corner, landed with a massive left hook that he never saw coming, knocking his man down for the first time in the fight.

Molina went down twice in the fifth round, and the fans let everyone know in Mississipi, who they were cheering for, with deafening yells of “Deontay, Deontay, Deontay,” throughout the arena.

In the seventh round, Wilder began to walk down Molina, who withstood barrages to the head, but still had something left in his arsenal, and the Texan got some much-needed encouragement from his corner.

Molina’s corner told him that Wilder look tired, and it must have lit a fire inside his gut because he came out firing in the eighth.

Molina was able to get inside of Wilder and land some huge body shots while Wilder was unable to answer back.

This is a vulnerability for many tall fighters who have a long reach. Once a fighter takes away that advantage by getting on the inside, it’s very hard for the taller fighter to land anything of significance.

This was a big part of interim WBA World super-lightweight champion Jose Benavidez’s struggles on the ropes against Jorge Paez Jr.

An attempted duplication in the ninth turned out to be a disaster for Molina, who was caught with a BIG counter right hand and fell hard onto the canvas.

Referee Jack Reiss didn’t even bother to count and called Molina out.

It was Molina’s third loss of his career, and all have come by way of knockout.

For Deontay Wilder, he looked sturdy as usual but showed some vulnerabilities on defense that WBC mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin could potentially expose.

At this moment in time, I don’t believe Wilder is completely ready to face Wladimir Klitschko, who holds the other three title belts in the division.

But his power would challenge the Ukrainian, who has been knocked out three times, but hasn’t lost since 2004 to Lamon Brewster.