Molitor ‘surprised’ about next fight

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 PM ET

The Panther may be an endangered species, but not for world IBF super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor.

He sees one quite frequently.

In fact, too frequently.

Molitor is scheduled to defend his title on March 19 at the Bell Centre in Montreal against the No.1 contender Takalani (The Panther) Ndlovu, the third time the two fighters will meet inside the ring.

For Molitor, it’s one meeting too many.

Ndlovu, 31-6, is the last fighter Molitor wants to face, but because the South African is rated the No.1 contender by the IBF, Molitor is obliged to fight him, even though he has defeated Ndlovu twice already.

“I’m very surprised (the IBF) is making me fight him again, but rules are rules and he won the No.1 position,” said Molitor on Friday.

“It sucks to fight the guy again. It’s a tough fight to sell to the public and the TV networks. I already beat him twice. But it is what it is.”

Molitor, 33-1 12 KOs, stopped Ndlovu in the ninth round the first time the two met in 2007 and then defended his IBF belt last March with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ndlovu again, back at Casino Rama — a decision that Ndlovu and his manager suggested was closer than the scorecards indicated.

Molitor deserved the win, but he wasn’t at his best, nor was he at his best in his last fight, on Sept.11 in England, when he retained his belt by scoring a majority decision over the tough, but limited Brit Jason Booth.

“It was just sour grapes,” said Molitor, of Ndlovu’s complaints.

“This time I’m going to take it out on him real hard. I knocked him out the first time and I’m going to do it again.”

Molitor, 30, recently signed a four-year deal with American promoter Top Rank, and the March 19 bout will be his first for the high-powered boxing outfit. It’s been a busy few months for the Sarnia native.

His son, Steel, just turned two and his wife, Tiffany, is expecting a baby girl in April.

Though he’s the world champion and made more money than he ever thought possible, Molitor said it’s his young family that’s keeps him motivated.

“Just the idea of somebody wanting to take away from them makes me very hungry,” he said.

The Molitor-Ndlovu fight will be the main undercard bout as Montreal’s Lucian Bute defends his IBF super middleweight title against Brian Magee of Belfast.

Commish gets help

There was talk that with professional mixed-martial arts now legal in Ontario, that the province’s besieged athletics commissioner, Ken Hayashi, would get a little help.

And he has. Former broadcaster Richard Hustwick has been hired to assist Hayashi in his dealings with the media and promoters. Hayashi has been heavily criticized for over-regulating pro boxing, thereby preventing the fight game from flourishing in this province.

But Hustwick said it’s his job to help Hayashi, from a communications standpoint, and present “the other side of the story” in terms of what the commissioner has to deal with on a daily basis. Hustwick believes that some of the criticisms directed at the commish have been unfair.

“I’m certainly aware of articles written by you and other members of the media and comments made by some promoters, and we’d like to offer the other side of the story and help people understand basically why Ken makes the decisions he makes,” said Hustwick, adding that the province anticipates about 15 MMA events a year in Ontario.

The big one, of course, will be UFC 129, which will feature welterweight world champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title against American Jake Shields on April 30 at the Rogers Centre.

More fight nights

Undefeated Orangeville lightweight Logan McGuinness, 13-0-1, will defend his NABA title on Feb.19 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. An opponent has yet to be determined. Also on the card, Mississauga welterweight Tebor Brosch, 6-3-4, will defend his Canadian title against another local fighter, Samuel Vargas, 7-0 ... Adam Trupish, the Canadian super middleweight champion and former Olympian, will meet Matt Palmer of Missoula, Montana on a Jan. 14 card at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Calgary. The Windsor native is undefeated in seven pro fights.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: beezersun


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