By Francisco Salazar
John Molina has been called a lot of things throughout his professional career.
One thing he has been called more so lately has been the word “underdog.” He has embraced that label a great deal, wearing it on his shield as a badge of honor.
As an underdog, he has scored some dramatic knockout victories. But he has also suffered some heartbreaking losses as an underdog as well.
While some would think that would be an underachiever, Molina has proved that when he fights, they are must-see television events. One Molina punch could affect an entire outcome.
He hopes he can do the same on Saturday night, when he takes on fellow hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse in a scheduled 10 round bout at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA. The bout will be part of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader telecast that begins at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT.
The last time boxing fans saw John Molina in the ring in a significant fight was when he losing badly to Mickey Bey. Behind on all scorecards entering the 10th and final round, Molina went all in, eventually hurting and stopped Bey with less than a minute in the round to earn a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
In his last bout on November 16th in Ontario, CA, Molina knocked out Jorge Pimentel in the second round in a stay-busy fight.
Fight fans have come to know Molina as a devastating puncher who can turn around a fight with one punch, as what took place in the Bey fight. It seems as though fight fans have focused more on the incredible and spectacular, as has been the case with Molina’s knockout victories over Bey and Hank Lundy.
So one has to wonder if Molina can do the unthinkable and unimaginable and not only hurt or stop, but defeat the fighter known as “The Machine” on Saturday night. There are a lot of fight fans that do not believe so, banking on a back and forth fight where Matthysse may be too much for the fighter from Covina, CA.
And that is fine with Molina. While he has been counted out before in fights, Molina is a firm believer that a fight still has to go through before one is crowned a winner.
“People have doubt me my whole career,” Molina told Boxingscene.com over the phone earlier this week. “I’ve arrived considering I’ve had no amateur background. I’ve stayed true to myself and I’m going to show all those naysayers.”
Molina might have an advantage going into the fight against Matthysse. The hard-hitting Argentine is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Danny Garcia on September 14th in Las Vegas, NV.
Matthysse’s invincibility of sorts was shattered not only because of the loss to Garcia, but because he was knocked down in the fight. Matthysse even spoke about retirement after the fight.
According to Molina, he has more than a psychological advantage over Matthysse, even though the Argentine has had the more lucrative fights.
“I’m at my best right now,” said Molina, who has been fighting in the pro ranks since 2006. “I’m fighting at 140 pounds and I feel great. I’m not going through a lot to make 135 pounds. They talk about me as if I’m a huge underdog. I’m five foot ten inches tall and he’s five foot six. Maybe it’s because he’s been in the limelight, and that’s fine. I’m going to showcase my ability and what I’m all about.”
Molina’s fight against Matthysse might steal the show considering it will take place before the main event fight between Keith Thurman and Julio Diaz.
The fight has created a lot of buzz amongst fight fans and media. Will Molina be able to withstand Matthysse’s hard punches through 12 rounds? Can Matthysse weather the early barrage of punches Molina will bring?
“It’s a fight with heavy hitters. People want to watch because it’s an intriguing fight.”
Nothing looks to faze Molina entering his bout on Saturday night. Not Matthysse. Not the naysayers. Not anything.
And it should not. Molina marches to the beat to his own drum. Regardless of any setback in his career, Molina has bounced back. Not to mention, people are intrigued about his power and weather it can change the course of a fight, as it did in the Bey and Lundy fights.
And it could happen on Saturday night.
“I know I’m a heavy underdog. I’ve always been an underdog my whole career. I can relate to those people who’ve been constantly told no.”
“But I hit hard and no one hits harder than me, even at 140 pounds.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing