After getting dominated by Carlos Molina in the first nine rounds of their March 24 bout, James Kirkland finally started building some momentum, sending the Mexican born fighter to the ground at the very end of the tenth round. Unfortunately for boxing fans, referee Jon Schorle robbed them of the opportunity to witness what could have been an amazing comeback by Kirkland, disqualifying Molina at the end of the tenth round – due to interference by Molina’s corner during the count.
Even before the controversial call, Schorle showed signs of incompetence as a referee, allowing Molina to get away with an excessive amount of holding and a few head butts.
Neither fighter was particularly happy with the disqualification. For Kirkland the stoppage robbed him of the opportunity to put on what could have been a memorable comeback. And for Molina, it erased the many excellent rounds he put in during the fight.
“I take nothing away for Molina,” Kirkland told Max Kellerman after the fight. “He came to fight, he trained pretty hard. As far as the stoppage — I like to go. It was the same way when me and Alfredo Angulo got it. He was a warrior, Carlos Molina was a warrior, we like to fight. I would have liked to see what would have happened in the deeper rounds.”
When pressed by Kellerman on the possibility of a rematch, Kirkland didn’t hesitate, immediately saying he would “love” to fight Molina again.
Carlos also vented his frustration after the fight, claiming the knockdown was actually a slip.
“I felt good, it [the knockdown] was the end of the round and I got up right away,” Molina said. “I fell down at the end right there, but I felt good. … I’m in top shape; I’m ready for 15 rounds. … Hopefully we’ll do it again or whatever.”
Technically speaking, Schorle was following the rulebook when he stopped the fight, but he could have showed better judgment. After all, Molina didn’t benefit in any way from his corner-man’s interference.