By Robert Morales
One would think that since his status as a major lightweight contender was, for all intents and purposes, on the line that John Molina's first thoughts after he stunningly knocked out Mickey Bey in the 10th and final round of their fight on July 19 in Las Vegas would have reflected that. Nope.
"It was my best friend's wife's birthday and they were down there for the weekend and we (he and his wife) were going to stay with them," Molina said. "I know it sounds kind of on a petty level, but if you're asking what exactly I was thinking about, I was really thinking, 'Wow, it's going to be a great weekend after all.' "
Molina, of Covina, Calif., was behind by five, seven and nine points on the scorecards heading into 10th. He was being thoroughly out-boxed, then caught Bey with a left hook to the chin that put Bey in la-la land and sealed his fate.
It was obvious that Bey was out on his feet. In his corner, sitting on his stool afterward, he was asking his corner people "what happened?" Yet, Bey would later have a totally different view of the outcome. He went on record with BoxingScene.com, where he disputed the stoppage and said Molina was well aware that "he got a gift."
We asked Molina about that. First, he wanted to make sure we knew that everyone involved with Mayweather Promotions, which staged the fight, was very "hospitable" to Molina and his camp.
"You know, he's coming off of his first loss, he's looking for every avenue to try to blame it on," Molina said Wednesday. "It's pretty hard to take the blame off yourself when the guy you're fighting decided to come to your backyard under your promotional company and in Floyd Mayweather's town, which is Las Vegas, as you know, and who just signed the biggest contract in the history of boxing with the Showtime network," Molina said; Mayweather promotes Bey, and the fight was on Showtime. "To think that I got a gift is immaturity and I hate to say it, stupidity.
"I mean, he was really just searching for an answer, not for an answer but for an excuse, but there was none to be found. What I did was I went in with my back against the wall. If I would have beaten him decisively, from pillar to post, out-boxing him and out-jabbing him, piled up points, I still would have lost a decision there. I knew going into the fight it was going to be knockout or bust, and that's pretty much what it was. We pulled it out of the fire and we did it."
Molina intimated someone from Bey's team must have realized how it sounded for him to say Molina got a gift.
"I think now they sent in a cleanup crew where they went in and kind of smoothed things over because I read another interview stating that he was very thankful and he was speaking highly of myself and (trainer) Joe Goossen," Molina said. "So I believe a cleanup crew went in and let him know how ignorant it sounded, him making that comment."
Molina, 30, is now 26-3 with 21 knockouts. He is hopeful of getting a shot at interim lightweight champion Omar Figueroa, who this past Saturday defeated Nihito Arakawa in a 12-round thriller in San Antonio.
"I just think that's going to be an explosive fight," said Molina, who said it's his understanding there are some preliminary discussions taking place about that fight.
Indeed, it was the type of thrilling come-from-behind victory that could go a long way in getting Molina his second shot at a major title. In his first, last September in Oakland, Molina was stopped in the first round by Antonio DeMarco.