Carlos Molina Earns Split Decision Over Ishe Smith To Win Junior Middleweight Title

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The second undercard bout of the September 14th Mayweather vs. Alvarez card was a junior middleweight championship bout between Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 knockouts) and Ishe Smith (25-6, 11 knockouts). Going into the bout against Molina it was hard to ignore the fact that Smith isn’t necessarily the most fan-friendly type of fighter to watch. With a calculated and somewhat tentative style, some have labeled him as “boring” but effective in implementing his strategies. Against long-time contender, Molina, Smith seemed like a different type of fighter, but early on that didn’t seem the case.

At the signal of the opening bell, both fighter came out, but it was Molina who was immediately dictating the pace. Applying pressure and attacking the body proved to be an effective strategy against a fighter like Smith who was so determined to counter. This trend continued in the following rounds as Molina gradually increased in his attack, while Smith found himself swinging at air rather than his opponent.

After a fourth round that saw him battered along the ropes, Smith came out in the fifth round and quickly turned things around. Finally managing to land his jab with consistency, Smith was beginning to set up his own combinations while also frustrating the offensive-minded Molina. Smith was finally beginning to look comfortable in the ring as he began to rely on his jab, power punches, and smart clinching to win some of the middle rounds and really sway the momentum in his favor.

The bout became much harder to judge as the championship rounds quickly approached. After an eighth round that saw him finally show the punch output from earlier, Molina knew that this fight would have to be both close and ugly for him to walk away with the title. Molina certainly made most of his first challenge for a major title as he increased the pace and began landing power punches with some consistency. Still, Smith refused to go away, and it was apparent that neither man was willing to walk away without the title in their hands as they went blow-for-blow until the final bell.

Although competitive, most would agree that Molina had emerged the rightful victor of the bout. Even with that being the case, one must acknowledge just how competitive Smith managed to keep the bout. Many at ringside scored the bout a draw, but the judges saw it as a split decision victory for Molina on scores of (117-111), (116-112), and (112-116). Even though Molina may have walked away with the title, Smith did wonders to prove that although he may not show it often he is fully capable of providing a competitive and fairly exciting match-up for anyone in the division.