Oasis Hotel Complex, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico– It was billed as a world title fight and, literally speaking, it was. But what fans actually saw Saturday night as Cornelius Bundrage (34-5, 19 KOs) beat defending IBF junior middleweight champ Carlos Molina (22-6-2, 6 KOs) was a battle between two fringe contenders fighting for the chance to lose spectacularly against one of the division’s hot properties.
To his credit, the 41-year-old Bundrage fought about as well and as intelligently as could be expected. He was able to keep the mauling, grappling Molina at bay with a jab of sorts and never let things degenerate into an inside brawl. This, alone, kept the fight somewhat watchable.
Perhaps some of that, though, was due to the fact that Bundrage was able to send Molina to the canvas in the first round, immediately putting the defending champ into a hole where simply spoiling and surviving wouldn’t be enough.
By the end of the fourth round, Bundrage looked exhausted and was breathing heavily. But against a Molina who offered no sustained offensive surge, the challenger was able to stay afloat and keep just enough energy to take a majority of the rounds as well as send Molina to the canvas one more time in the tenth.
Molina, who was making his first defense of the belt he took from Ishe Smith, offered little resistance to the loss and little effort to close the show big in the championship rounds when it was clear that he’d need a knockout to win.
Despite losing a point for holding and hitting, “K9” Bundrage would go on to take the decisive unanimous decision and become a two-time IBF 154 lb. champ by scores of 116-109, 117-106, and 115-110. The Boxing Tribune also scored the bout 115-110 for Bundrage.