Molitor fights for title March 27
Ever since Celestino Caballero dethroned him in November 2009, Mississauga's Steve Molitor has been chasing a chance to reclaim a 122-pound crown.
Fifteen months and three tuneup bouts after losing the title, Molitor, 29, had worked his way back to the number two slot in the IBF's rankings while Ndlovu, who held down the top spot, remained Caballero's mandatory challenger.
Faced with a choice between a minuscule payday against Ndlovu at a weight that drains him. or vacating the title to chase big names at featherweight, Caballero chose to vacate. That move set up a title fight between Ndlovu and Molitor.
If Ndlovu's name sounds familiar, it's not a coincidence. He's the contender Molitor dismantled en route to a ninth-round knockout in a July 2007 title defence. Since then he has won three of four bouts, losing a bidfor a minor title (IBO) and picking up an even smaller strap (WBF) before winning a title eliminator in September.
But unlike the first bout, when Ndlovu traveled to the champion's turf and accepted short money for the privilege of fighting for the title, the South African entered negotiations for this fight with some leverage -- as the top contender he figured to dictate the terms, and wanted the bout in South Africa.
So then how did it wind up at Rama?
Molitor's promoters at Orion Sports Management had to part with a lot of it to entice Ndlovu to return to the arena where he suffered a demoralizing knockout loss to Molitor.
Promoter Allan Tremblay won't say how much either fighter will make for this fight but acknowledged that for this fight Ndlovu would receive the long end of the purse split. He says Molitor -- at least for this fight -- prizes the title over money, and knows he has the best chance to win fighting in Ontario.
"Steve could have doubled his salary in South Africa," Tremblay said. "He wants that title bad."