By Francisco Salazar
Do not dare to call Carlos Molina an underdog, especially for his scheduled 12 round bout tonight against Amir Khan at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA.
He has been hearing the label during the buildup to the fight. Has it fazed him? No. Does he get tired of hearing it? He’s not one to say.
But the 27 year old fighter could tell you that he was destined to arrive at this moment in his career, which is fighting one of the best junior welterweights in the world and not far from his hometown of Rosemead.
A victory over Khan will parlay into bigger fights, hopefully championship gold, and bigger paydays.
Hey, he has to support his ever-growing family somehow.
“I have two kids and a third one is on the way,” Molina quipped to Boxingscene.com in a telephone interview earlier this week.
Not to say that alone is the reason why Molina could be victorious. However, Molina, who has a stellar amateur career, believes that his work ethic and ring generalship are enough to defeat Khan.
There are still those in the boxing world that will have a hard time believing Molina will be capable of doing just that. Some will point to Molina struggling to an eight round split-decision draw against Juan Montiel four fights ago in August of 2011. Others will point out that in his previous fight, when he looked ordinary in defeating John Figueroa, who entered the fight with a 7-7-3 record.
Others point out to the fact he is moving in weight from competing in the lightweight division. He will also have a height disadvantage when he steps inside the ring against Khan.
That was in the past and fighters who are given the spotlight, regardless of experience or skill, seem to shine when given the opportunity.
According to Luis Ramos, who is also under the same management of Frank Espinoza with Molina, explained that Khan had a choice between both Ramos and Molina.
Whether Khan made the right decision remains to be seen. However, Molina is very glad Khan chose him.
“When Frank (Espinoza) called me and first told me about it, I wanted to kiss him on the cheek,” said Molina, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Although he has respect for Khan as a person and for his accomplishments in the ring, Molina feels that it is his time to shine.
“I know that this is my shot and I’m going to make the most of it. He already had his time. I want to put on a good fight and what a perfect opportunity to do it in my hometown in front of my fans.”
Those are some powerful words, considering he does not have a victory over a legitimate contender. It was not until his eighteenth professional fight, his last bout, where he won some sort of belt. In that bout on June 16th, he won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over Marcos Leonardo Jimenez.
However, Molina believes he got his confidence and strong work ethic from his father. While some may consider that blind faith, Molina believes that so far it has worked for him as a pro and it will work again tonight.
“With what I went through in my life, I believe no other fighter is as mentally strong as me. Deep down, I have this drive where I feel that I will win this fight because of the hard work I put in and ability to handle adversity in my life.”
Molina is a likable guy out of the ring; one who could enjoy drinking a cold one with or being a good family man to his loved ones. Although it is a tall order and there is a possibility that Molina may not win tonight against Khan. However, Molina is never one to give up on himself. It is not his nature to do that.
Everyone likes an underdog. There could never be enough “Rudy Ruettigers” in the world. Although Molina does not want to be compared to as an underdog, one has to wonder; could a victory over Amir Khan be classified as a “Carlos Molina?”