by David P. Greisman
John Molina finished 2013 with a second-round knockout of Jorge Pimentel, weighing in slightly above the junior welterweight limit for that bout. And it is the 140-pound division that is enticing to the 31-year-old from Covina, Calif.
Molina, speaking with BoxingScene.com on Jan. 26, said he’s looking to move up in weight this year. He feels that wins such as his come-from-behind stoppage of Mickey Bey last year have put him in position for big fights against one of the many big names at 140.
Molina is 27-3 with 22 knockouts. His interview follows below:
BoxingScene.com: DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley told me in an interview that he could be fighting in March on an ESPN2 card in California and that he could be facing you. You say that’s not true. Could you clear things up, please?
Molina: “Sure. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. At the stage I’m at in my career, I’m sure we’re looking above and beyond — ‘Chop Chop’ was a great champion of the past and fought at the highest level, but I don’t think of ‘Chop Chop’ Corley as a name that draws people right now.”
BoxingScene.com: Is that a date that you were already looking at fighting on?
Molina: “No, not as far as I know. My handlers and my manager, they’re still working on details for the upcoming year.”
BoxingScene.com: OK. So you don’t know when your next fight could be or what it could be?
Molina: “Well right now I’m not at liberty to say due to the fact that I’m in a position where my promotional contract is coming to an end. Right now we’re taking care of that first, and then we’ll be able to make our move from there.”
BoxingScene.com: When is the promotional contract coming to an end?
Molina: “As of right now, it should be rather quickly here. So right now we’re working on the details as far as who, what, where and why, seeing what Goossen Tutor can do. I just want to see what kind of contract they can present me. We’ll see what happens. We definitely have a game plan for the year, but again, nothing can be revealed until we find out where our promotional contract lies.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you interested in staying with Goossen Tutor, and if so, why?
Molina: “If I am interested in staying with Goossen Tutor, it’s got to be right. If it’s right, then we have no problem staying with Goossen Tutor. But if it’s not right, at the end of the day it’s a business, and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”
BoxingScene.com: How has your relationship been with them over the past few years of your career?
Molina: “Goossen Tutor has been good to me. They did what they said they were going to do coming out of the blocks. And now we’re at a position where I’m in a good position, where many fights are going to be made. You put my name in the hat with big fighters and they’re intriguing fights. We’re in a very good position right now, so we’re just waiting to see from Goossen Tutor and are waiting to make the next move. But at the end of the day, it’s a business and we’ve got to make the right move for our career. It’s definitely a small window of opportunity to take full advantage when you have the opportunity.”
BoxingScene.com: I want to return real quick to Corley and clarify: If that fight was offered to you, you wouldn’t accept it?
Molina: "I just don’t see — it’s not a matter of accepting it. Everything’s got to be right for that fight. But with all due respect to Corley and the networks, I don’t see a ‘Chop Chop’ Corley fight on ESPN as the Mecca of boxing right now, you know what I mean? There’s definitely a lot more prestigious names out there. There’s fights out there with more meaning than ‘Chop Chop’ Corley right now, is what I’m getting at.
“And I’m trying to say it the most diplomatic way I can without disrespecting anybody. There’s definitely other fights out there that have been presented to us that make a lot more sense than ‘Chop Chop’ Corley. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from him. He’s a good fighter. He recently lost, but he recently beat a fighter I thought was decent.
“Corley is a good fighter, and also he’s fighting at ’35 now — and I believe this is going to be an exclusive, I believe we’re going to be moving up to 140.
“Again, I don’t want ‘Chop Chop’ to think I’m talking crap about him. Just at this stage in my career, there’s a lot more value in other fights as opposed to a ‘Chop Chop’ Corley.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you want to make a move up to junior welterweight?
Molina: “As of right now there’s no significant names at ‘35. The other one was [Omar] Figueroa. It’s going to be a tough thing for him to make 135, I believe. This is just an assumption on my part. I think he’s going to have a hard time with the weight. There were rumors he was struggling. And I just think at 140, there are names like myself, Lamont Peterson, who looked good last night, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse.
“There’s a lot of guys at 140. There’s Mike Alvarado, there’s Provodnikov. I think my name fits in very well with those names at 140. At 135, you have Omar Figueroa was the only significant name to hang around for. Other than that you have Terence Crawford, you have Ricky Burns — and you have Miguel Vazquez and Richar Abril, who don’t equal fan-friendly fights for anybody.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you having any difficulty making 135?
Molina: “I mean, if [Yuriorkis] Gamboa was to come up to 135 and wants to make that happen, that’s a significant name for us to stay down for. But again it’s got to make it worth my while. Difficulty? The best way to compare that is, is it any more difficult for a man to lace up his work boots and go to work and pull eight-hour days? That’s about the same amount of difficulty I have making 135.”
BoxingScene.com: You mentioned both Top Rank and Golden Boy fighters. If you were to sign with Goossen Tutor again, that would keep you able to fight guys with either promoter, and on either of the major networks.
Molina: “Yeah, as far as I know I’m not willing to go into who, what, where and how. As of right now, I’m contractually obligated to Goossen Tutor. Until that contract expires and/or I re-up with them, then I’ll be able to discuss where our future goes.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else that you want people to know?
Molina: “Just know that we’re working to get back in the ring as soon as possible. We’re staying ready, and I can’t wait see to what 2014 holds for me. I believe 140 is the place to go now.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Tags: John Molina