'Punxsutawney Phil' did not see his shadow when the famous rodent emerged from his burrow earlier this morning, which means an early spring is upon us. Retirement for former faded world champions Cory Spinks and Jose Luis Castillo should also come sooner rather than later following their respective losses last night on ESPN 2's 'Friday Night Fights' from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Former undisputed welterweight champion and two-time light middleweight titleholder Spinks fell to 39-8, 11 KO's in a virtual shutout, losing a unanimous decision to highly ranked 154-pound contender Carlos Molina by scores of 120-105 and 119-106 (twice). The 34-year old Spinks was battered around the ring for what seemed to be an eternity-long twelve rounds where he only seemed capable of grabbing, stumbling on unsteady legs and putting Molina into headlocks.
Molina did manage to get off spurts of aggressiveness and landed a variety of sweeping left hooks, straight rights and uppercuts. As he rushed in to launch his shots, Molina was susceptible to right hooks and left uppercuts. However, Spinks did not possess the reflexes to properly time his punches, opting instead to hold onto Molina as a means to stifle his opponent's attack.
Referee Celestino Ruiz had grown tired of the excessive holding, exclaiming "That's it" and deducted a point from Spinks in Round 9. Spinks' corner came close to saying the same thing in Round 11 as their fighter was getting punished following a knockdown. With towel in hand ready to throw it into the ring, his cornerman called out to Spinks to keep moving.
Somehow, the 34-year old legs were able to get Spinks through the round on his feet. However, he soon encountered more trouble in Round 12 and was given a standing eight count when Ruiz ruled he was being held up by the ropes during a barrage of punches levied by Molina.
The victory puts Molina right back into world title contention and leaves Spinks looking even more bewildered and frustrated, with the boxing community hoping this son of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks will hang up the gloves.
Castillo (64-12-1, 55 KO's) did not fare much better, losing by a wide margin on all three scorecards to Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 KO's) in the opening bout that was fought at a catch-weight of 156 pounds. The scores were 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 as Smith literally barked his way to a virtual shutout, releasing loud and irritating grunts as he threw single shots throughout the bout.
The 39-year old Mexican veteran can only fight one way and still believes he can inflict damage so he stayed inside against Smith, willing to take shots with hopes he could land something meaningful of his own. The problem is that Castillo no longer has the stamina to withstand this approach over the course of 10 rounds nor does he have the game changing power he once did. The only action Castillo was able to produce was a point deduction in Round 4 for a low blow.
Castillo was gracious in defeat, applauding his opponent after the scores were announced. We applaud Castillo for all of the contributions he has made to boxing but after 77 career fights, there is nothing more for this proud warrior to prove in this sport.
While this should mark the end of two careers, it will not at all be surprising if Spinks and Castillo keep on fighting to make this another never-ending version of 'Groundhog Day' instead.
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