Chicago heavyweight “Merciless” Mike Mollo (20-4, 12 KOs) says he’s thought it over and there is only one fight that make sense for him right now.
“I want the Artur Szpilka rematch. That’s the only fight I want.”
Mollo suddenly finds himself a hot commodity after the back-and-forth war he and Poland’s Szpilka waged on February 1 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Despite fighting through a mask of blood from cuts caused by accidental fouls, Mollo had the undefeated Polish fighter on the floor twice before being knocked out by a perfect shot in round six.
The 33-year-old had been fielding offers to face other fighters, but has now made up his mind: the rematch with Szpilka (13-0, 10 KOs) will be next.
“I want this rematch because of all the injustices in the last fight. I was winning! I should have never been allowed out for the sixth round with the cuts I had from elbows and headbutts. It should have been stopped and gone to the scorecards, like any other professional boxing match, but instead they sent me out to slaughter unable to see.”
Mollo maintains that referee Celestino Ruiz (especially) made several serious errors in judgment during the fight that prevented him from winning.
“He (Ruiz) was cursing at me! You can hear it on TV. He deducted a point from me for nothing and started warning me he would disqualify me. Not to mention all the fouls from Szpilka he missed. Even if you were at the fight, watch it on TV. Get a better look at the ESPN version and you’ll see what I was dealing with. He told my corner my cuts were from legal punches after he had officially ruled they were from fouls. It was a disgrace.”
Mollo says given time to prepare properly, he knows he has what it takes to derail the Szpilka express in a second fight.
“I know my abilities. I know how hard I punch. There’s not a man in the heavyweight division that can take it when I crack them. I wasn’t 100% for the first fight. I was lacking in some areas, and had some ring rust. Plus I broke my toe on Thanksgiving and couldn’t run all of December. I only had four weeks to get in shape. I know if we fight again with a different ref and everybody watching to see if they try to cheat me, it’ll be different.”
Despite losing, Mollo says his performance against Szpilka has raised people’s awareness of him at home and in the boxing world.
“Finally people got to see me for who I am. They got to see my abilities and will and my desire and see what Mike Mollo is about.”
After putting on the kind of unforgettable display of heart and desire that Mike Mollo put on in his last fight, there are plenty of lucrative avenues he could take. But first he has a score to settle.
“I want Szpilka. That’s what needs to be done. So let’s do it.”