Molitor's career may not be over

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Deposed world super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor is gone, but not forgotten, at least not by his promoter Allan Tremblay.

Tremblay said this week that Molitor, who lost his title in dramatic fashion to WBA king Celestino Caballero on Nov. 21 at Casino Rama, will take a long rest away from the sport, but will return to action probably in June. In fact, Tremblay, who usually avoids the bravado so familiar in the prize fighting world, added that The Canadian Kid will be back fighting for a world title "two or three fights" after his return.

"I've spoken to all the world sanctioning bodies, and I'll have him rated very high in every one," Tremblay said. "It won't take much to get him back. He'll be right back in the mix in a couple of fights."

After his stunningly inept performance against Caballero (a fourth-round TKO), there have been suggestions that The Canadian Kid is through as a world contender. But Tremblay doesn't see it that way -- pointing out that Caballero had lost twice before coming back to unify the WBA and IBF belts. Prior to defeating Thai champion Somsak Sithchatchawal in 2006 for the WBA title, Caballero had lost to marginal contenders Ricardo Cordoba and Jose Rojas. The loss to Rojas came via a third-round knockout.

"Caballero got knocked cold with one shot (against Rojas) and then he lost again," Tremblay said. "They all lose eventually. The question is how they react from the loss."

Tremblay said that something happened to Molitor prior to the fight against Caballero, that he wasn't himself. And he's not sure what.

"When he got into the ring, he seemed to be in a trance," said the former Air Canada executive. "In the dressing room prior to fight, he was very irritable, very fidgety. But at the time, I didn't think anything of it."

Tremblay said perhaps the pressure of fighting at home and all the media buildup got to the previously unbeaten Molitor (28-1), who had no answer to Caballero's size and speed, other than some weak hooks that never made it through to the Panamanian. Tremblay said there is no question that the 28-year-old will return to the ring.

"He's still a little despondent. But he's fine physically," he said. "He just needs to get away from the sport and have a really good enforced rest."

Tremblay said Molitor and his fiance are house hunting in the Toronto area in preparation for the birth of their son, who is due later this month.

CLASH OF THE TITANS

Tomorrow night's Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas could generate $100 million US, which is pretty amazing for a non-heavyweight title bout and the fact that the world is in the midst of an economic meltdown.

But the real question is, which one of these two stars -- De La Hoya, the world's most bankable fighter, or Pacquiao, considered the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet -- will suffer a meltdown in the ring?

It's an intriguing matchup. De La Hoya, at 35, is well beyond his prime and has lost three times in his last six fights. On the other hand, the pride of East Los Angeles, who will go down in history as one of the greatest fighters in history, at least in this corner, lost at least three of those via questionable decisions. And he certainly has faced, and beaten, some of the greats, including Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez.

Pacquiao, who is a national treasure in the Philippines, is on an extraordinary run, having won eight straight including wins over Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera. However, he usually fights at 135 pounds and is moving up two weight classes to meet De La Hoya at 147.

AROUND THE RING

Lost in the hype surrounding the De La Hoya-Pacquiao bout is the fact that Montreal fighter Jean Pascal (21-0 14KOs) will meet Englishman Carl Froch (23-0 19KOs) for the vacant WBA super middleweight title tomorrow night in Nottingham, England ... Mary Spencer of Windsor won her second gold medal at the recent world championships in China (66kg) while Sudbury's Amber Konikow (75kg) won bronze ... Another Canadian (sort of), former world heavyweight king Lennox Lewis, is cold to the idea of returning to the ring and facing WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, despite the fact that the Ukrainian is urging his old rival to return for a super fight. Lewis stopped Klitschko in the sixth round in a thrilling 2003 bout, before walking away from the sport ... The Dec. 20 fight between Evander Holyfield and Nikolai Valuev has the potential to be the most boring fight in years.


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