Not a blue-collar champion

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

It was deja vu all over again for Canada's latest also-ran on the international boxing scene.

The one-sided dismantling of ex-IBF junior featherweight champ Steve Molitor by Panama's Celestino Caballero in their IBF-WBA title unification bout in Orillia, Ont., last week was eerily similar to the 1987 "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" in Regina that saw Grande Prairie heavyweight hopeful Willie de Wit blasted into has-been status by Bert Cooper.

Like de Wit, Molitor went in against his first real world-class opponent with a perfect -- albeit inflated -- record, 28-0 (de Wit was 15-0-1). Also like de Wit, the hometown hero from nearby Sarnia was the product of slick marketing and calculated career advancement. Both were white, bright and polite - the very embodiment of the good-lookin' kid next door.

De Wit lasted a little less than two rounds with Cooper. Molitor was stopped 52 seconds into Round 4 against Caballero. It's usually easier for little guys to recover from such a beating, but in Molitor's case he's all the way back to square one. Look for him to fatten his record against hand-picked no-names for at least a year before he's ready for a Top 10 contender.

OTHER FIGHT OVERLOOKED

Overlooked in the fallout of Molitor's defeat was the semi-main event that saw the "Canadian" heavyweight championship change hands as Polish-born southpaw Grzegorz Kielsa (8-0, 3 KOs) pounded out a boring 10-round decision over Nigeria-born Raymond Olubawale (7-3-1, 4 KOs). The capacity crowd of 6,500 at Casino Rama repeatedly booed during the clinch-fest, and at one point in the fourth round, Olubawale actually turned his back on Kielsa to avoid trading punches.

Kielsa's victory, considering he's only had eight pro fights, sets up the intriguing possibility of a sooner-rather-than-later title defence against Edmonton's Sheldon Hinton (9-6-1), who won the CAM (Canada-America-Mexico) North American heavyweight title with a spectacular seventh-round KO of Moncton's Dean Storey here on Friday.

Prime Time Promotions, which is headed by Hinton, put on the sold-out double championship card at the Palace Banquet Hall, so there's a definite possibility that the right offer could lure Kielsa here for his first defence. Hinton went into the bout ranked No. 8 in the Canadian Boxing Federation ratings, which takes care of the CBF stipulation that a national champion's initial defence must be against a ranked contender.

"This (CAM title) is great, but I don't wanna settle for just a so-called 'blue collar' belt," Hinton said moments after his huge left hook dispatched Storey. "This is just the start of my climb. I want something bigger and better. The next target on my radar is the Canadian title."

If a Kielsa-Hinton match can be made, the card would also afford another opportunity for Edmonton's Omar (The Mexicutioner) Valdez to validate his status as the best super bantamweight in the country.

TITLE STILL VACANT

Friday's ringside judges qualified for this year's White Cane Award by scoring Valdez's 10-round Canadian title fight with Steve Cannell a draw -- the third consecutive D on the Edmontonian's record. The title thus remains vacant.

"I just don't understand it ... it's almost impossible to get two draws in a row, never mind three," Valdez said afterwards. "I trained harder for this one than for any fight in my career, pro or amateur. It's really disappointing."


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