By Francisco Salazar
Back on July 19th, Molina was down on the scorecards to then-unbeaten Mickey Bey. His status as a legitimate contender was rapidly disappearing with each passing round.
While Bey was gaining confidence with each passing round that he was going to secure victory, he may have forgotten or did not realize that Molina had power in each hand. One punch could change the momentum in a fight in Molina’s favor.
That is what happened in the 10th round of that fight. Molina hurt Bey, followed up, and eventually stopped him in front of Bey’s friends and supporters.
That round, and punch for that matter, changed everything as Molina looks to take advantage of that in 2014, where he believes he will have a breakthrough year.
Molina will stay busy in the meantime, fighting veteran Jorge Pimentel in a scheduled eight round bout tonight at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. The bout will be on the non-televised undercard of the scheduled 12 round bout between Andre Ward and Edwin Rodriguez.
The card will be co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and Lou DiBella.
Although Molina (26-3, 21 KOs) is 30 years old and at the peak of his career, he turned pro at the age of 24 after fighting only a handful of fights as an amateur.
Aside from beating Bey, he has also beaten Hank Lundy and Dannie Williams in recent fights. He has had hiccups in his career, suffering a first round knockout to Antonio DeMarco and a decision loss to Andrey Klimov.
Now that he is back with trainer Joe Goossen, and with momentum in his favor following the knockout victory over Bey, Molina is eager to look forward to 2014. First things first, he has to take care of business with Pimentel tonight.
“I’ve prepared myself well for this fight,” Molina told Boxingscene.com over the phone on Wednesday night. “It is what it is. It’s a stay-busy fight. I’m not taking him lightly. I’m taking this fight seriously and I’m going to give fans a treat.”
The knockout of Bey seems to personify his career. Whereas some think he is out of a fight, one punch changes the complexity of a fight in his favor. He has been able to persevere thus far, proving detractors wrong and being able to continue with his career.
It is almost as though Molina works well under pressure and is that much of a dangerous fighter when his back is up against the wall. Fighting in Bey’s hometown and against the house fighter may solidify Molina’s game plan to take matter into his own hands.
“I let my hands be the judges,” said Molina, who is promoted by Goossen Tutor. “I have an exciting style where I’m never out of a fight. It happened in the Bey fight and it happened in the (Hank) Lundy fight.”
“I’ve experienced and I’ve learned from my losses. I’m a seasoned fighter where I’m no longer learning on the job. My style is very fan-friendly and the networks enjoy it as well.”
Although Molina has campaigned a few times as a junior welterweight, he believes he could come down in weight to 135 pounds.
With his tremendous punching power and improving skill-set as a boxer, fighters who compete at 135 and 140 pounds are being put on notice by him.
“I’m focusing on getting a fight with (Omar) Figueroa or (Yuriorkis) Gamboa. There are fighters at 140 pounds like (Lamont) Peterson or (Ruslan) Provodnikov. I think that (Mike) Alvarado is damaged goods. There are a lot of good fights out there for me. I can’t wait.”
Molina has experienced the high and lows in the sport. He has showed perseverance in the sport where many have counted him a number of times.
He is eager to make 2014 his year and believes he can be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
“I’m in this for the long haul. I’m at the right age in boxing and I’m willing to give 100% to get to where I want to be.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Knockout Nation, and Ring TV. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing