Mike Mollo Thrills The Fans In Chi-Town By Stopping Kevin McBride In The 2nd Round!

08.10.06 - By Jacqui Snow: The eleven-round snoozefest between Nikolay Valuev and Monte Barrett wasn't the only heavyweight bout in Chicago last night. The non-televised portion of the card featured a scheduled twelve-rounder between 33 year old veteran Kevin McBride and Mike Mollo, a young Chicago-born fighter of Italian descent. Mollo, just 26 years old, came out cracking and delighted the local fans with a good-looking second round knockout of the heavily favored McBride.

Admittedly, Kevin McBride looks a whole lot better on Mollo's resume than he did in the ring. On the resume, McBride is five inches taller and 47 pounds heavier, with a 2-inch reach advantage. He's 34-4-1 with 28 KO's and had won his last nine, including a spectacular, (supposedly) career-ending victory over Mike Tyson, who quit on his stool against McBride.

Realistically, however, McBride weighed in last night at a near-career-high 278 pounds—all of it fat, by the looks of it—and was soft and thick around the middle. He appeared clumsy and uncoordinated from the get-go, more shot than the proverbial clay
pigeon. Mollo, although physically much smaller, was ripped and muscular, and it wasn't that much of a surprise to see him dominate the action from the opening bell.

The first knockdown occurred about two minutes into the first round. Mollo set it up with digging shots to the soft, heavy body of McBride, then wobbled his opponent with a hard left hand to the side of the head. That was followed by quick right-left combinations to the head and body, which sent McBride crashing to the canvas. With nearly a full minute remaining, things didn't improve much for McBride after he took the standing-eight count from referee Geno Rodriguez. Mollo continued to land left and right hand combinations to the head and body of his hapless opponent until the bell sounded and McBride staggered to his corner.

Mollo started the second round by landing at will and McBride tasted the canvas again just 20 seconds into the second round. Following another standing-eight count, Mollo immediately chased McBride down, landing a series of hard left-handed blows to the head and body and closing the deal with a massive left hook to McBride's head, which caused the ref to wave off the fight.

I'm actually somewhat tempted to pin my heavyweight hopes on this kid, based on last night's performance and his nice record of 17-1, 11 KO's, including an impressive nine first-round knockouts. But there are certain caveats. Firstly, with the questionable exception of McBride, he's only ever been tested once, against battle-worn tough guy DaVarryl Williamson (23-4, 19 KO's), who beat him easily by 4th-round knockout. All of Mollo's other fights have been in hotels and halls in his home town against very weak opposition. Also, his technique is flawed—he throws wide looping shots and doesn't tuck his chin, leaving him wide open for anyone who can land a decent uppercut.

Having said that, though, the lack of a marquee American heavyweight has been much publicized and it'll be interesting to see whether Mollo, with his knockout power and fan-friendly style, can some day step it up and fill the void. I'll be closely watching his next few fights.

Article posted on 09.10.2006

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