MNJIKANING (RAMA), ON (Friday, August 29th, 2008) – Once again, “The Canadian Kid” Steve Molitor (28-0, 11 KO’s) made being a world champion look deceptively easy, turning back the determined challenge of Ceferino Labarda (18-1, 7 KO’s) via a tenth round technical knockout Friday night in the main event of Rumble at Rama V, at Casino Rama..
Like his previous four title defenses, the IBF Junior Featherweight champion demonstrated a rare brilliance in every facet of the sweet science, punishing the previously undefeated Labarda with crisp hooks, crosses, and debilitating body shots.
After needing a couple of rounds to get in a rhythem, Molitor began landing bombs with both hands, gradually wearing down the resolute Labarda, flooring him in the ninth before a punishing flurry prompted referee Charlie Fitch to step in and stop the fight.
Official time was 2:34 seconds of the tenth round.
“It was definitely one of my best performances,” a triumphant Molitor told the media after the fight. “I didn’t go out to try and stop him. I just went in and put my punches together. I knew once I hurt him to the body in the ninth he was going out.”
The Molitor victory paves the way for Casino Rama and Orion Sports Management to close the deal on one of the biggest fights in Canadian boxing history – a title unification bout between “The Canadian Kid” and WBA champion Celestino Caballero, of Panama, on November 21. That superfight depends on Caballero successfully defending his title on September 18 in Panama against lightly regarded Elvis Meija.
“We’ve crossed one hurdle, now we await September 18,” said Allan Tremblay, President of Orion Sports Management. “I’ll be sitting ringside in Panama with a contract in my pocket for Caballero to sign.”
Pending sanctioning by the IBF, WBA, and the Ontario Athletic Commission, a Molitor-Caballero showdown at Casino Rama would be the first title unification bout ever on Canadian soil, and the most significant bout in Canada since the 1980 Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray Leonard blockbuster at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
“The Rumble at Rama series has established Casino Rama as a world class venue for elite championship boxing, and is immensely succesful,” said Jeff Craik, Casino Rama Vice President, Marketing. “Bringing a Molitor-Caballero unfication bout to the Casino Rama ring would be unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Canada before.”
In addition to Molitor’s convincing victory over Labarda at Rumble at Rama V, Canadian Heavyweight champion Raymond Olubowale avenged a brutal KO loss to Demetrice King, earning a hard fought six-round unanimous decision over the Michigan fighter. Heavyweight Greg Kielsa topped tough Jerry Butler over eight exciting rounds. Two Montreal fighters retained their NABA belts. Super featherweight Beniot Gaudet outlasted iron-chinned Alejandro Barrera over ten thrilling rounds, while Olivier Lontchi eeked out a split decision draw over upset-minded Eduardo Garcia.