Heavyweight Crowd-Pleaser Mike Mollo To Return Against Raphael Butler In March?

by James Slater -It's unlikely either guy will ever become a heavyweight champion, but Mike Mollo and Raphael Butler - who, according to BoxRec, are set to clash in Chicago on March 26th - are both gutsy sluggers who always come to fight hard. Mollo, who celebrates his 30th birthday tomorrow, is the more well known warrior of the two men, having rumbled with some pretty big names in his now 19-3(12) pro career..

Who can forget Mollo's hugely entertaining fight with Poland's Andrew Golota, which took place back in January of 2008? Mollo lost that one on points, but he came out blasting away right from the opening bell and eventually hammered Golota's eye shut in the fan-friendly slugfest that took place at Madison Square Garden, New York. Both men gave their all and the fans went home happy.

Taking almost a year off before fighting again, Mollo returned against another familiar name in November of that year - this time fighting in a final eliminator for the WBC title. Unfortunately for Mollo, he suffered another points loss, in a less than thrilling bout against Jameel McCline. And then, after that fight, nothing. Mollo disappeared. Until now, that is (according to BoxRec).

Set to meet 26-year-old Raphael Butler, 35-8(28) over a scheduled eight-rounds, Mollo could very well wind up entertaining fight fans once again. However, Butler, as his 28 KO's show, can be a dangerous fighter, especially at a certain level. Like Mollo, Butler has also ventured into the deep waters from time to time, facing a number of world class fighters. Also like Mollo, Butler has been defeated when he's faced a top guy. Eddie Chambers stopped Butler back in June of 2008, and the undefeated Malik Scott decisioned him later that year ( Scott being 31-0 at present, but seemingly nowhere to be found; having been inactive since the Dec. 2008 win).

Butler has stopped some so-so fighters in his time, but he was badly hurt in his last outing, when Joey Abell knocked him out with an after-the-bell punch at the end of the 1st-round - causing the Dec, 2009 fight to be declared a No Contest. So, with both Butler and Mollo very much needing a win, who will it be that gets one on March 26th?

Though the fight is no big match-up, it's likely the clash next month will be a really good battle. Both guys come to fight, as I've said, and both guys hit and get hit in pretty much equal measure. There is certainly a good chance there will be some fireworks in this one. It's not clear what a win would do for either guy, but I expect both men to come in in top shape, looking for victory.

Though he's been inactive for well over two years while Butler has been fighting regularly, Mollo looks a slight favourite to win in my book. Stopped just once in his pro career, by DaVarryl Williamson in 2006, Mollo has otherwise shown a better and more reliable chin than has Butler - who has been stopped four times as a pro. Throw in the fact that Mollo holds a win over Art Binkowski, who stopped Butler, and the older man's chances of winning look even better.

Still, this one could well be bombs away and it could be a case of whoever lands a big shot first goes home with the win. And with his possible ring-rust, Mollo may find himself being beaten to the punch. A KO, one way or the other, looks a good bet, but at the same time a full eight-rounder that sees both men unwilling to give in could also happen. I go for the more durable Mollo to win, around the 5th or 6th-round. But danger man Butler, a risky return foe for Mollo, could prove me wrong.

Article posted on 10.02.2010

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