Steve Molitor will take the next few days to heal both his physical and emotional wounds, before deciding on his future.
But one thing is certain. Despite his devastating loss to Celestino Caballero on Friday night at Casino Rama, he is not going to retire.
"I'll be back," Molitor vowed, a few minutes after suffering a fourth-round technical knockout loss to the crafty Panamanian.
The loss represented Molitor's first in 29 professional fights and only the second time in his career he had been knocked down. He also lost his IBF world super bantamweight title to WBA champion Caballero and the possibility of a million-dollar pay day in his next fight.
But Molitor's promoter Allan Tremblay said yesterday it is not the end of the line for the 28-year-old Sarnia native.
"Steve and I will sit down next week and talk things through," Tremblay said. "I have to see where he is physically and, more important, mentally, after which we will strategize a way forward. Yes, I am holding dates (at Casino Rama) and those are opportunities for him if the timing is right."
"(Right now) I want him to go away and have a nice rest, he's been training and fighting, and he's been the most active champion in the world," Tremblay added. "His body needs rest and time to regroup. There's all kinds of avenues and lots of fights out there to make, and you haven't seen the last of Steve Molitor, believe me."
Molitor entered the fight promising to give the lanky Caballero "a boxing lesson." But it was The Canadian Kid who was given the lesson. The 5-foot-11 Caballero set the tone from the start, using his left jab and superior reach to keep Molitor from getting inside. The Panama City resident also used body shots very effectively to slow Molitor.
In the third round, Caballero nailed Molitor with a hard right uppercut, which staggered the Canuck. The end came in the fourth when another right upper cut sent Molitor to the canvas for only the second time of his career. He survived the eight count issued by referee Luis Pabon, but then Caballero staggered him again with a combination and Molitor's trainer, Stephan Larouche, waved for Pabon to stop the fight, which he did.
"He is young. He is 28-years-old. It was not his best night. Why be abused more?" said Larouche, when asked why he gestured to stop the bout. "His future depends on how he responds to something like this. I have seen a lot of fighters, and when you are undefeated and you lose, it looks like the end of the world."
Molitor said he felt tight from the beginning and couldn't get effective shots off. The four-inch height advantage obviously stymied him and, other than a number of weak hooks, he was unable to get inside on the 32-year-old Caballero.
For his part, Caballero, who called Molitor a "Pretty Boy" earlier in the week, ridiculed the former IBF champion after the fight, proclaiming that Molitor was afraid to get hit and didn't really want to fight and was not the warrior he made himself out to be.
After the unification bout, an emotionally drained Molitor sported a mouse over his swollen left eye, a cut under his right and a battered nose. He barely was able to contain himself when asked about his future plans, saying he was looking forward to a rest and to the birth of his son in December. With that, a tear welled in his eyes and he rose to leave.
"I hate losing, it's something I've never dreamt of in my wildest dreams. But it's here, and I thought the world would end. But I'm here talking to you guys," Molitor said.