By Robert Morales, photo by Stoyan Vassev
Lightweight contender John Molina confirmed this week what was recently reported by BoxingScene.com, that he is now being trained by Robert Garcia, one of today's top trainers.
Molina was being trained by Joe Goossen for the second time when he challenged Antonio DeMarco for his world title Sept. 8 in Oakland. DeMarco stopped Molina 44 seconds into the fight. DeMarco hurt Molina, who eventually sat on the ropes and absorbed several blows before referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight.
We spoke with Molina on Tuesday, and asked him why he decided to make the switch.
"We were happy with Joe and everything was going good," Molina said. "We just had to make a decision to progress in my career and we thought Robert was the guy to do it with. Robert doesn't accept everybody and the fact that he accepted us with open arms meant a lot to me."
Molina said Garcia is one of a few trainers in California who have star power and notoriety. He said that Goossen and Virgil Hunter are two others.
"At this stage in my career, Robert was the best for me for my style, and then with the accolades he has accomplished over the past five years," Molina said.
Indeed, Garcia has become a very hot commodity in the mode of Freddie Roach, who turns away a lot of fighters because so many want him.
"He (Garcia) told me, 'There is not much I need to change on you. I just need to tighten you up in certain areas and we are good to go,' " Molina said. "Robert has actually turned down fighters and he was very excited to be working with me.
"He said I'm one of the strongest guys he has ever felt."
Molina reiterated he has nothing bad to say about Goossen.
"There is no discrediting Joe," said Molina, of Covina, Calif. "He was a great trainer. We did everything well. I felt it was a move we needed to make. I'm in a position where everything has to come forward."
Molina said he had a sit-down with Goossen about all this.
"There is never a good way to part ways in anything in life, but we did it the right way," Molina said, probably meaning he and his father, John Sr., his manager. "We had a meeting, discussed a few issues, laid out a few ultimatums and they weren't able to fill them on the other end. That's why we made the move."
Molina (24-2, 19 KOs) said he would not discuss what those ultimatums were out of respect for Goossen.
When Molina, 29, was signed by Goossen Tutor Promotions in December 2008 - its president is Dan Goossen, Joe's older brother - Molina switched from trainer Ben Lira to Joe Goossen. Molina then left Joe Goossen to be trained by Clemente Medina. Then it was back to Joe Goossen, and now to Garcia.
Dan Goossen spoke to BoxingScene.com by telephone Wednesday. He refused to believe that his brother's training had anything to do with what happened to Molina last month.
"I guess it's the old thing that sometimes you've gotta just look at the overall situation and ask yourself what went wrong," Goossen said. "I certainly don't look at the trainer in this case, whether it was a fast call by the referee or the correct one. I believe if John would have been able to go on and win the fight, then certainly everyone would have been satisfied with the job he did, and his trainer.
"Losing makes people look at reasons why and sometimes it goes in the direction that is improper at times. I like Robert Garcia, but going into this fight Sept. 8, as far as I know, Joe and John were doing beautifully together. John said he was in great shape, mentally ready, physically ready."
As for Molina having again changed trainers, Dan Goossen does not like that kind of thing in general.
"I'm not a big believer in jumping around from one coach to another," he said. "But those aren't the decisions I make as a promoter, whether it's my brother or not."
Molina is probably going to fight again in January on ESPN2, Goossen said. Molina is hopeful a win then will land him a shot with WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns, who will defend his belt against Liam Walsh on Dec. 15 in London.
On Wednesday we played phone tag with Joe Goossen, whose biggest claim to fame is leading Diego Corrales to an unbelievably thrilling 10th-round TKO of Jose Luis Castillo in May 2005. Corrales, who died two years later to the day in a motorcycle accident, somehow got up from two 10th-round knockdowns to register what some experts believe is perhaps the greatest comeback victory in history, or at least one of them.
Interim Belt is On Line
Robert Guerrero won the WBC interim welterweight belt with his first bout in that division, a unanimous decision over Selcuk Aydin in July.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said Wednesday it will be on the line when Guerrero faces former champion Andre Berto on November 24th at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. (HBO)
"Since (Floyd) Mayweather holds the (WBC) belt at 147 and one (WBA belt) at 154, they are going to wait to see what is going to happen, if he is going to defend the 147 belt or the 154 belt, depending on what opponent he faces," Schaefer said.
Guerrero a Real Welterweight?
Since Guerrero won his first title at featherweight and has just the one fight at welterweight, there are likely still plenty of doubters out there who wonder if Guerrero can be a legitimate world-class fighter in this division. He said this fight will prove
that he is just that.
"Come out to the fight and just watch," Guerrero said. "Come to the fight and watch, take care of business fight night and it's going to be all there. Everybody's going to find out. Berto's a full-fledged welterweight, he's been the champion there and fought big fights there and this is the fight that's going to show everybody."
Quillin-Golovkin next? No Way, Schaefer Says
We asked Schaefer not long ago about middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin as it pertains to Golovkin getting a fight with the likes of Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Schaefer said then he didn't think Golovkin had earned a fight with any of them because no one really knows who he is. Since Quillin is now a world champion after winning the WBO title from Hassan N'Dam this past Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, we again broached the subject of Quillin and the heavy-handed Golovkin possibly getting it on in a title unification bout.
Schaefer's stance had not changed.
"I just don't really think that besides a very small group of core fight fans, you have any interest in getting that fight done," Schaefer said Tuesday.
Schaefer, who promotes Quillin, said K-2 Promotions should concentrate on keeping Golovkin busy and getting him on TV regularly.
Then I think that fight can eventually happen," said Schaefer, who said "the bigger boxing public" needs to be on board with such a fight for it to materialize.
"But now it's sort of like some lone voices," Schaefer said. "Do I personally think it would be a terrific fight? Yes. But I think in due course it will happen."
Back to Brooklyn
Having defeated N'Dam at Barclays Cente, Schaefer said chances are Quillin will be right back there for his first defense.
"I will be meeting with his adviser, Al Haymon, to discuss that," Schaefer said. "But the plan, as I discussed with Brett Yormark - the CEO of the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets basketball team - the idea is to have these guys who performed so well - Danny Garcia, Peter Quillin, Danny Jacobs as well as Paulie Malignaggi - hopefully
back next year.
"I'm in fact working on a card for January for the Barclays Center and then another one in February and I'm sure that Peter Quillin will be on one of them. Now it's a matter of identifying the right opponent for Peter."
All Good at Barclays
Schaefer was stoked about the results of Saturday's card at Barclays Center. Not the results of the fights, everything else surrounding them.
"It was almost $800,000," Schaefer said of the gate. "So the first time in what, 30 years, to bring championship boxing back to Brooklyn and you have 11,000 people who made the trip to the arena, generated an $800,000 gate. That's a success. That's a success for Brooklyn, it's a success for boxing.
"And those people who were there, except maybe the first fight when they booed, after that they were into the fights and they were loud and they were excited and they will come back. And that is exactly why we're going to go back there in January and in February."
Robert Morales covers boxing for the LA Daily News and BoxingScene.com.