Ishe Smith’s emotional reign as world light-middleweight champion came to an end in the American’s very first defence as ‘Sugar Shay’ lost out to mandatory challenger Carlos Molina at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The veteran, fighting in his hometown of Las Vegas, fought out a drab contest with ‘King’ Molina, who edged a scrappy affair that failed to raise the crowd in the run-up to the huge main event between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez.
In a forgettable clash, the more skilful Molina was handed a split decision 117-111, 116-112, 112-116 on the judges scorecards (WBN Scorecard) and now becomes the IBF title holder at 154lbs. The victory for Molina, in what was his first attempt to claim a version of the world crown, pushes his record to 22-5-2.
The Showtime PPV opener produced more excitement as Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano ended a run of two straight losses with a points win over Briton Ashley Theophane. The strength of ‘El Demoledor’ was just too much for the new ‘Money Team’ signing, who was shaken on more than one occasion.
Cano, 23, was able to visibly hurt Theophane and looked to have a decision victory sewn up after a strong finish to the contest. Theophane, ten years Cano’s senior, had rallied in the mid-rounds after being out-gunned early on, but eventually lost out by a surprising split as the judges carded 98-92, 97-93 and 94-96 (WBN Scorecard).
Theophane showed heart when rocked by some hard shots from Cano and will have made more friends than enemies with his performance on the back of penning a three-year deal with Floyd Mayweather.