Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, who is undefeated with 33 wins 32 of them by KOs, faced off against his opponent, Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina in Wilder’s home state of Alabama on Saturday June 13 on Showtime, with the WBC Heavyweight Title on the line. Wilder, who some compared to being a “monster” as he stood next to Molina during the official weigh-in on Friday, was looking to land his 33rd monster KO and defeat “Drummer Boy.”
In an earlier bout, in the lightweight division, broadcast live from Birmingham, Alabama, at the sold-out Bartow Arena, on Showtime Extreme, Dejan Zlaticanin remained unbeaten by defeating Ivan Redkach by KO 1:24 into the fourth round. Zlaticanin will get Jorge Linares next.
The Wilder vs. Molina fight marked the first time ever that a title defense happened in Alabama. The co-headliner bout Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza, 26, from Puerto Rico vs. Andrey Klimov, 32, was also for a title, the IBF Junior Lightweight Title, which would go to the winner of the fight. Klimov had won his last three fights in a row, though he has one defeat and Pedraza went into the bout undefeated.
Round One: The 12-round IBF Junior Lightweight Title fight was right before the Wilder vs. Molina bout. Klimov was in blue trunks while Pedraza was wearing gold-and-green snakeskin trunks. Southpaw Pedraza unleashed a combination of lefts and rights on Klimov in the first round. Neither man has ever been knocked down to the canvas before. The first round was a good start for Pedraza, though most of his punches were to Klimov’s body.
Round Two: Early in the round, there was an accidental clash of the boxers’ head, but nothing major. The round continued with Klimov having more success, but still struggling to find his range. Pedraza worked Klimov’s body and had Klimov on the ropes at the close of the second round.
Round Three: Klimov had landed just five of his punches to 25 from Pedraza. Klimov threw more punches, but Pedraza connected with more of the punches that he threw. Both boxers looked aggressive, but Klimov expended a lot of energy on punches that failed to connect.
Round Four: Pedraza stuck with his southpaw stance, though he has fought as a right-hander in other matches. Klimov got in a nice uppercut on Pedraza, but “The Sniper” got in a nice right hook to Klimov’s head. A mouse started to form under Klimov’s left eye.
Round Five: Klimov came out looking aggressive, throwing punches but still failing to connect on most of them. Pedraza was both threw more punches and landed more than Klimov. Pedraza had his timing down and fought using a great tactical strategy, though Klimov did have his best round and landed more of his punches than in the previous rounds.
Round Six: Pedraza began the round using a right-handed stance. Klimov was much more aggressive, though Pedraza got in a good uppercut and a couple of lefts to Klimov’s face. Pedraza forced Klimov to fight off of his back foot. Both boxers landed more punches during this round than any of the first five rounds. Klimov had success with his left hook.
Round Seven: Pedraza had great success with landing some combinations. Pedraza used his jabs to close the distance between himself and Klimov, landing both blows to Klimov’s body and to his face. It was Pedraza’s best offensive round yet of the bout. Pedraza landed a very effective uppercut to Klimov’s chin. If Klimov does not come out more aggressively in Round Eight, the bout might not continue past the next round.
Round Eight: Klimov continued to throw punches, but he could not stop Pedraza from closing in on him and opening up on him. However, Round Eight was a closer, more competitive round. At the close of the round, Pedraza landed a couple of punches to Klimov’s ribs.
Round Nine: Pedraza landed 79 shots to Klimov’s body coming into the round. “The Sniper” slowly circled Klimov, looking for an opening. About halfway into the round, Pedraza switched to the southpaw stance that was effective earlier, and it again seemed to confuse Klimov. There was not a lot of action in this round. Pedraza has the fight won, unless Klimov manages to get a KO.
Round Ten: Pedraza continued fighting from the southpaw stance. His jab helped keep Klimov at a distance. There was swelling under both of Klimov’s eyes and his face was bloody. Pedraza looked like a very complete boxer, and Klimov was taking a severe beating. Pedraza relied mostly on his left jab, but it was very effective in this round.
Round Eleven: Pedraza got the advice “Don’t take any risks.” He was clearly winning, so he could afford to not take any unnecessary risks. Pedraza still looked fresh, and he landed a nice right to Klimov’s face. Klimov seemed to be accepting he was going to lose, but he wanted to go the distance and if he happened to see an opening, take advantage of it.
Round Twelve: Klimov got in a good punch to Pedraza’s body early in the round, but then Pedraza opened up with a couple of combinations. He slipped, but quickly recovered. Pedraza got in a few good punches to close the last round, but he did not get a KO.
Pedraza easily won on points, landing more of his punches by far than Klimov. Klimov had come into the fight with high hopes of winning, but he looked pretty beaten up by the end of the bout. One judge, Nola Oliver, had Pedraza winning 119-109, and the other two judges had him winning 120-108. Pedraza claimed the IBF Junior Lightweight Title with his defeat of Klimov.
The main event, Wilder vs. Molina, was next. Alabama native Evander Holyfield was interviewed and talked about the upcoming fight. Charles Barkley, who was also born in Alabama, had a front-row seat for the fight, and he was interviewed. Joe Louis and Earnie Shavers were two of the other great boxers born in Alabama, so that state has a rich boxing history.
Wilder, 29, came out wearing a red hood and he had on a bronze mask covering to top part of his face and nose. Molina, 33, wants to become the first Mexican-American Heavyweight Title holder, but most fans have their money on Wilder to easily win.
Round One: Molina, Don King’s boxer, came out to a chorus of rowdy “boos” from the Alabama audience. Wilder’s introduction was met much differently, with loud cheers and the entire sold-out audience was on their feet as he entered the ring. King was in the ring, holding flags in his hands. Molina wore gold trunks with red trim. He was ranked Number 7 WBC heavyweight boxer in the world, according to the ring announcer.
Wilder won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. He wore red trunks. He was the much taller of the two boxers, and some have referred to him as being a “monster” in comparison to Molina.
Molina fought from the outside, with the heavyweight champ owning the middle of the ring. Both boxers possessed decent right hands, though Wilder’s jab is considered to be better than Molina’s. Wilder rocked Molina with a powerful right punch, but most of the first round, both boxers just were getting the measure of each other.
Round Two: “The Bronze Bomber” came out looking more aggressive, and got in a couple of right jabs. Molina tried to counter with his right, but Wilder got Molina cornered. Molina managed to land a couple of rights, but Wilder countered with his five-inch reach advantage. Molina had some good moments in the round, but Wilder did not look fazed.
Round Three: Wilder tagged Molina with a right, but then Molina unleashed some very effective punches that stunned Wilder. Molina continued to put the pressure on the champ. Wilder hit Molina with a left hook, but then Molina bull-rushed the champ and backed him up. The heavyweight champ ended the round with a good left hook, but the round was Molina’s. Wilder likely underestimated “Drummer Boy.”
Round Four: Wilder learned from the last round that Molina was not going to be a push-over. Wilder landed the greater percentage of power punches, but Molina showed power of his own the last round. Molina held the center of the ring much of the fourth, though “The Bronze Bomber” got Molina backed into a corner late in the fourth. He then landed a powerful left hook and dropped Molina to the canvas right at the end of the round.
Round Five: Molina barely made it into Round Five. The crowd was on their feet and the champ smelled blood. He wanted to close out the fight quickly, but Molina still showed he could land a few punches of his own. Molina got backed up, and turned his back on “The Bronze Bomber,” who rushed in on him and knocked him down again. Molina got back up, but then Wilder clocked him with another right hand, flooring him again. Molina once again got back up, and he made it to Round Six.
Round Six: The ring announcers said that Molina often has done better in the middle rounds, but Wilder is stronger competition than most of the fighters Molina has previously faced. Molina did drive Wilder back, but then “The Bronze Bomber” landed a stiff left jab, then a left hook. Molina backed Wilder up to the ropes, but the champ came back on the attack and landed a flurry of punches. He was not able to knock Molina down again, though.
Round Seven: Molina was looking for an upset. He backed up Wilder, but then Wilder came in with some combos and he laid into Molina. Molina managed to stay in the fight, and he made it one of the closer rounds so far in the fight. He landed some good shots to Wilder’s body late in the round, and a couple of Wilder’s punches just connected with air.
Round Eight: Molina was showing some perseverance, though Wilder was winning on all of the judges’ score cards so far. Molina tagged Wilder’s face with a strong right hand. Wilder’s jab was still effective, but he looked like he was getting tired down. Molina got in some good shots to Wilder’s body and an uppercut to his face. That round was close, and might have gone to Molina.
Round Nine: Molina knew he was fighting from behind, though he won the last round on at least one card. Then, however, Wilder landed a very powerful punch and Molina went down for the fourth and final time. Molina fought with a lot of heart, but he finally was KO’d. Wilder told him “Thank you for giving me this fight. This was just what I needed.”
Molina gave Wilder all he wanted and more. It was not the outcome Molina wanted, but he was gracious, and he said “I want Wilder to go out now and be great.”
The audience at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama got their money’s worth, but native son Wilder finally ended the bout with a “monster” KO against Molina in Round Nine. Zlaticanin defeated Redkach in the first fight of the evening in Alabama on Showtime Extreme, and it looks like he will get his shot for the title against Linares. Pedraza won his bout against Klimov in a fight that he dominated, but one that went all 12 rounds.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Photos From Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME