By Luis Sandoval
On a hot summer Saturday morning I made my way to the Ten Goose Gym in Van Nuys, CA to go see John Molina Jr prepare for his showdown with WBC Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco on September 8th in Oakland, CA.
For Molina, this marks his first time being on HBO and his first opportunity to fight for a world title. It’s been a rough road recently for Molina who went through a long stretch of inactivity and legal issues. But everything seems on track now and he even got back with trainer Joe Goosen for the biggest fight of his career.
Training for Molina has been intense to say the least. Sparring partners have been punished and even knocked out in some instances as Molina’s power is evident even when wearing 16oz gloves. Molina likes to go full speed when sparring and those in the ring with him better be wary.
“I believe we can charge for sparring actually” said a smiling Molina. “We had a couple people in here saying man, that was more exciting than some of the fight they’ve seen all year. But we go pretty hard. I mean I knocked a few guys out in sparring. Credible sparring partners. I just feel like I’m firing on all cylinders right now”.
When talking to Joe Goosen, it was revealed Molina has only faced one southpaw his entire career. Many fighters have a hard time adjusting to the southpaw stance as everything being thrown now comes from the opposite angle that you’re used to. Even for a southpaw fighter, fighting another southpaw can be just as difficult.
To prepare for DeMarco, Molina has been fed a multitude of left handed sparring partners. The object is to have him get to the point where he doesn’t even realize he’s dealing with a southpaw stance.
“I don’t even look at it as southpaw anymore. I’m so used to it now. We’ve been in camp for almost 8 weeks now and doing nothing but everything southpaw. Dealing with southpaws, even hitting the mitts in the southpaw manner. So to me it’s not a big deal. Orthodox, southpaw. It doesn’t matter” said Molina.
The fight is one that will surely please the fans. Both fighters pack a punch and both have pleasing styles which makes it hard to believe this won’t be an exciting fight. And at the same time, you also realize the chances of this fight going the distance are pretty slim and Molina agrees.
“I don’t anticipate this fight going 12 rounds. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m prepared to go 12 rounds as we’ve prepared well. I’ve been training like never before in my life. [But] I don’t see it going the 12 rounds given the fighter DeMarco is. He’s going to engage me. I’m definitely going to engage him. I’m telling you right now from my mouth to your ears, I’m going to engage him” expressed the tall Lightweight.
This fight promises to produce fireworks and steal the show September 8th despite the main event pitting two of the best fighters in the world in Andre Ward and Chad Dawson. Fight of the Year is already being whispered and Molina is more than willing to give the fans a fight to remember.
“It’s funny because the two things I believe we excel in is our heart and determination to win. And that only makes for a great fight. A lot of people have dubbed this a candidate for fight of the year based on styles alone and the way we fight. We have a lot to live up to and I fully anticipate living up to it”.
A war is coming and it’s called Antonio DeMarco vs. John Molina Jr.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, BoxingScene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.