By Mike Coppinger
In the main event of ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., John Molina Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) stopped Robert Frankel (28-11-1, 5 KOs) on cuts, TKO 5, in a highly-entertaining scrap.
Molina Jr. and Frankel went at it from the get-go, letting their hands go. It was hard for the light-punching Frankel to keep up with Molina though, who possess heavy hands.
In the third, Frankel buzzed Molina with a three-punch combination, only to have Molina come back towards the end of the round and hurt him with a series of shots, as the bell tolled to end the stanza.
Frankel’s face was a crimson mask by the end of the round, with blood dripping from both eyes and his nose.
The fourth round was all-action, with Molina delivering most of the punishment. He landed a big left hook as the round drew to a close, as Frankel, 31, seemed to wearing down.
Round five was more of the same, with Molina, 28, drilling Frankel to the face, as blood continued to pour.
Following round five, referee Raul Caiz Jr. halted the junior welterweight bout, citing the severity of the cut over Frankel’s right eye, which was also completely swollen shut.
In the co-feature, Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs) defeated Mike Dallas Jr. (17-2-1, 7 KOs) via majority decision in a close, spirited junior welterweight encounter amid some controversy.
The crowd and many observers felt that Dallas Jr. clearly won the bout behind his jab and slick style, but it seems the judges preferred Herrera’s aggressiveness and pressure style.
From the onset, Herrera, 31, stalked and applied constant pressure while Dallas Jr. sought to outbox him from the outside.
Herrera dictated the pace over the first few rounds, pushing Dallas Jr. around the ring and landing to the body.
An odd moment occurred in round five, where the timekeeper ended the round 30 seconds too soon.
As round six began, Herrera, perhaps buoyed by the extra rest, came storming out and landed a left hook, partially blocked, that knocked Dallas Jr. back.
Both boxers had prominent bouts on Friday Night Fights in 2011 – Herrera with an upset win over the previously-undefeated Ruslan Providnikov and Dallas Jr. losing his O with a seventh round knockout loss Josesito Lopez.
Herrera was far more effective in the clinches, landing body shots and hooks on the inside.
Dallas Jr., 24, sought throughout the affair to keep distance and fire his jab, but he simply could not do it over the first half of the bout, as Herrera kept closing the gap.
In spurts, though, “The Silent Assassin” Dallas Jr. was able to pot shot Herrera, landing crisp left hooks and countering him well off the jab. Dallas Jr. excelled when the fight was on the outside, Herrera when there was much in-fighting.
Dallas Jr. really began to take over in round 8, bringing the fight to Herrera and bullying him to the ropes, landing at will. It was the first round that Dallas Jr. was really the aggressor, as he perhaps felt Herrera was tiring.
The fighters went toe-to-toe in the 10th and final round, great exchanges throughout the stanza.
The bout was Dallas Jr.’s first under new trainer Virgil Hunter, best known for being Andre Ward’s chief second.
Scores were 95-95 even, overruled by scores of 98-92 and 96-94 for Herrera, with the 98-92 score an atrocity. It was a close bout that Dallas Jr. seemed to win.
After the scores were announced, Dallas Jr., feeling he was robbed, proclaimed “this isn’t fun anymore”.