By Keith Idec
While Amir Khan has been busy preparing for his third shot at redemption in four years, Carlos Molina has trained as if Saturday night is his one shot at changing the course of his boxing career.
If Molina (17-0-1, 7 KOs) doesn’t upset the besmirched British boxer, he has no idea if he’ll ever get another opportunity comparable to this “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event in his hometown of Los Angeles.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little kid,” Molina said. “I’m going to be in a huge fight, right here in the city that I’m from, the city of LA. I’m just so motivated and so excited for my opportunity. This is my time, you know? It’s my time to show the world who I am and that I’m ready to become a world champion.”
His 12-round fight against Khan will mark Molina’s true debut at junior welterweight, a move the 27-year-old Molina has welcomed for quite some time.
“We’re moving up five pounds and I think those five pounds are going to benefit me,” Molina said. “It was never easy for me to make 135 pounds, and I think being at 140 pounds I’ll be a lot more comfortable. We’ve been doing a lot of agility work, a lot of sand work and we’ve been doing a lot of cross-fit training, just a better type of training that’s going to make me more explosive in the fight. I think I’m going to be stronger at this weight.”
Molina produced just seven knockouts in his first 18 professional fights, but he’ll encounter an opponent, though talented, who doesn’t take the best shot.
Khan contends he’ll be much more focused on defense during his first fight since Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) knocked him out in the fourth round July 14 in Las Vegas. Molina suspects Khan will revert to what he knows once they start trading shots Saturday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
“I think he’s going to go out there with that game plan, to be more defensive,” Molina said. “But like Mike Tyson says, everybody’s got a game plan until you get punched in the face. I know Amir Khan loves to fight, so I think once we start putting those shots on him, he’s going to be in there. Like I said, we’re going to go to war.
“I’m willing to walk through hell and back. This is my shot. This is my opportunity, so I know I’ve got to be smart about it. I just can’t go in there and just attack, attack. I’ve got to be smart about it. I know he’s a good boxer, so we have a great game plan for him and we’re going to execute it on Saturday.”
Molina admits, though, that Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) is by far the best boxer he has been scheduled to face during his five-year pro career. He understands that he has a lot to prove against a former WBA junior welterweight champion, particularly since he fought to an eight-round split draw with Mexico’s Juan Montiel (5-6-3, 2 KOs) just 16 months ago in Las Vegas.
“It’s a huge step up,” Molina said. “This fight right here, me beating Khan, is going to catapult me to that level where everybody’s going to know who I am. And that’s why this fight means so much to me. Like I said, Amir is a world-class fighter and me being in with a fighter on his level, it’s only going to make my boxing ability even greater.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.