By Dave Spencer/John Robbins, FightNews Canada
If former IBF super-bantamweight champion Steve Molitor wishes to make his next Casino Rama appearance a title elimination fight as originally scheduled, a run to the border may be in order. The #3 ranked Molitor who meets #8 Heriberto Ruiz on June 26th has also been penciled in to make an appearance in just over one weeks time on Friday May 1st in Yucatan Mexico according to Spanish language website OEM (Organizacion Editorial Mexicana). So why a six round fight so far from home and so close to an important fight? Simple, per IBF rules, Molitor cannot participate in a title elimination fight coming off a knockout loss. The ‘Canadian Kid’ suffered his first loss last time out in a title unification bout versus WBA champ Celistino Caballero last November where he was stopped in the fourth round. The Mexican border run against a so-far unnamed opponent would presumably fill that loophole for Molitor who is presently training and sparring in his hometown of Toronto.
Molitor’s Canadian promoters Orion Sports had no comment on the impending fight co-promoted between Orion and Yucatan Boxing and refused all questions on the matter. Alan Tremblay of Orion would only acknowledge that Fightnews had a good handle on the IBF rules and that he would happily answer all questions once he returned from Mexico on May 2nd.
Molitor’s trainer Stephane Larouche was similarly tight lipped on the subject. “I haven’t heard anything about it,” said Larouche who will be in Las Vegas the same weekend as the Molitor fight as he guides super-featherweight Benoit Gaudet in his first title shot versus Humberto Soto. “I would doubt it,” said the Montreal trainer sizing up the possibilities of the fight happening, adding, “I know he’s been sparring up in Toronto with Buzz Grant just to stay busy.”
It is expected that if Molitor does make the trip to the Yucatan, Grant’s trainer Billy Martin will accompany him. All parties questioned fully expected Larouche to be back in the corner of the former champion for the June 26th fight versus Ruiz.
Molitor captured the IBF 122-pound title in 1996 in England versus Michael Hunter and made five successful defenses before succumbing to the power of 5’11″ Celistino Caballero at what has become his home base of Casino Rama in Orillia Ontario. Larouche who also trains Lucian Bute was in a similar situation when the super-middleweight champion was vying for an IBF elimination spot. Potential names at the time included former champion Markus Beyer, Sergei Tatevosyan and Rudy Markussen but were all excluded because of stoppages in their previous fight’s despite being rated higher than eventual candidate Sakio Bika.