Junior featherweight titlist Steve Molitor of Ontario, who signed with American manager Cameron Dunkin last month, signed a four-year promotional agreement with Top Rank on Monday and intends to fight in the United States.
Rafael's Boxing Blog
Get the latest scoop and analysis on the world of boxing from ESPN.com's Dan Rafael in his blog.
"It is very rejuvenating," Molitor told ESPN.com. "I feel like it's a fresh start. There is no bad blood or bad feelings with my former promoter, but it's very exciting to me to be with one of the best promoters in boxing in Bob Arum and Top Rank. I'm 30 and I want to be on the big stage. I'm hungry. It's like when you drive a car. You drive the car and it's fine, but then you get a new car and you're excited to drive it. That's how I feel. Who wouldn't be happy signing with the biggest boxing promoter on the planet?"
"He's always been an exciting fighter and charismatic kid and we have a lot of the potential matchups for him in his weight category," Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. "We're looking forward to working with him."
Dunkin and Top Rank secured Molitor's release from promoter Allan Tremblay's Orion Sports Management, which cleared the way for Molitor's new deal.
"Allan was terrific," Dunkin said. "He handled this so professionally. He let Steve go because he said that he felt there was nothing more he could do for him in Canada. He's a smaller promoter and he said in boxing it's a short career and that he's 30 and he wanted Steve to get an opportunity to make as much money as he can for his wife and family, which I thought was incredibly honorable. He said he didn't want to stand in the way of that. He said, 'There is nothing more I can do with him to make him more money.' I said, 'Wow.' That's incredible in this business. He's just a real classy guy."
Under Tremblay's promotion, Molitor (33-1, 12 KOs) twice won junior featherweight titles. He knocked out Michael Hunter in England in the fifth round in 2006 and made five defenses before being stopped in the fourth round by Celestino Caballero in a title unification bout, which Showtime carried -- Molitor's only title bout to be televised in the United States.
"I want to prove to the American fans that I'm for real," Molitor said. "I know I don't have a lot of TV exposure in the United States, and when I did, I didn't perform like I am capable of against Caballero. So I need to show I am a real world champion and a real fighter."
Molitor bounced back from the loss to Caballero with three wins in a row before outpointing Takalani Ndlovu in October for the vacant belt, which Caballero had relinquished. Molitor made his first defense of his second reign in September, taking a majority decision against Jason Booth in Booth's native England.
Molitor has fought primarily at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, but Top Rank intends to bring him to the United States.
His first order of business is a mandatory defense against South Africa's Ndlovu, whom he has already beaten twice, the decision to regain the belt and a ninth-round knockout in 2007 in the first defense of his first title reign.
"It will be satisfying to put a beating on him again," Molitor said. "I'll go out there and defend my title and continue to be a champion."
Dunkin said although the mandatory is not an attractive fight -- since Molitor has already beaten him twice -- he and Top Rank will try to finalize the fight. They hope to put it on in the early part of 2011.
"Steve has a mandatory due with the IBF, which he will take care of, and after that his eyes are wide open to fight anyone," Dunkin said. "But he's got to beat [Ndlovu] again. The guy won an eliminator and he's baaaaaack. And so it's got to be taken care of, so we'll take care of it.
"Top Rank is committed to taking care of it and looking for a place to put it."
Beyond that, Dunkin said they have interest in matching Molitor in a unification fight with Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. or possibly Guillermo Rigondeaux, Top Rank's two-time Cuban Olympic champion who fights for an interim belt Nov. 13 on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard in just his seventh professional bout.
"I think Steve can beat any 122-pounder out there and there are some good fights for him," Dunkin said. "Vazquez is a terrific fight and so is Rigondeaux. There are some fights that are very fan appealing."
Top Rank also is heavily involved in the divisions just north and south of junior featherweight. Molitor could eventually move up to 126 pounds, where Top Rank promotes featherweight titleholders Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa. There are also potential fights with bantamweight stars Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire (who are due to face each other in February), who could move up from 118 pounds.
"The point is there are a lot of interesting fights for Steve in and around his weight division," Dunkin said.
Said Molitor, "Top Rank has so many guys, so many possibilities. I'll worry about this mandatory and get it out of the way, and then take on some other challenges."
Molitor has fought three times in the United States, but not since 2005. He said he is looking forward to fighting here again.
"My mom is an American citizen and I have some family in the States," he said. "And I look forward to making new fans in the States."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
- Posts : 1791
Join date : 2010-07-10
Age : 98
Location : Andromeda galaxy