By Jake Donovan
Adrian Estrella and Carlos Molina helped kick off the Televisa Sabados de Box 2016 season premiere in style, both registering knockout wins Saturday evening at Como Dare in the greater Monterrey area in Mexico.
Headlining the show, Estrella scored a pair of knockdown in stopping Alfonso Perez inside of five rounds. Molina offered a similar performance, twice flooring Jose Agustin Feria en route to an 8th round stoppage for his second consecutive win.
Venezuela's Perez was fighting in Mexico for just the third time in journeyman career. His first trip resulted in his biggest career win to date, stopping previously unbeaten Marco Antonio Lopez in two rounds back in April '11. A freak injury in his subsequent fight in Mexico resulted in a 3rd round knockout loss just five months later.
His first fight back in more than four years was simply a one-sided beatdown. Estrella has grown accustomed to delivering such performances, even in light of a hiccup last May in suffering his lone career defeat - a shocking 2nd round knockout to Eden Sonsona.
Three straight knockout wins have followed, with Saturday's clash showing evidence of his two-fisted punching power. The 24-year old boxer - who has enjoyed commercial TV success outside of the fight game - had Perez under siege from the opening bell, at least during the moments when he didn't have him on the canvas.
The fight ultimately came to an end with Estrella trapping Perez in a corner, catching him with clean shots upstairs in to to drop and eventually stop him at 1:56 of round five.
Estrella advances to 25-1 (23KOs) with the win, having now stopped each of his past three opponents in just 12 total rounds of ring action. Perez falls to 11-8 (8KOs), suffering his fifth loss in his last eight fights.
Molina was forced to dig a little deeper for his knockout victory, requiring eight rounds to stop Feria in the evening's chief support.
The extended rounds only meant that much longer for the former super welterweight titlist to systematically break down the 33-year old from Colombia. At no point was the bout competitive, nor did Molina seem intent in hearing the final bell.
The 32-year old former champ - once again living in Mexico - fought purposeful in his second ring appearance inside of four months. Straight right hands to the chin and digging body shots were key in Molina's attack, landing virtually at will as Feria struggled mightily to keep pace.
A right hand upstairs followed by a vicious left uppercut produced the first knockdown of the night, coming in round four. For reasons chalked up solely to pride, Feria made it to his feet and braved the ensuing onslaught.
Molina continued the attack until the 8th round, when a cornered Feria was forced to a knee following a vicious left hook to the liver. This time the bout was waved off at 2:18 of round eight.
The win advances Molina's record to 24-6-2 (8KOs); Feria heads back to Colombia with his four-fight win streak snapped in falling to 21-3-1 (13KOs).
With each ring win, Molina continues to enjoy the sweet taste of freedom. His greatest career achievement - a 12-round win over Ishe Smith to win the super welterweight in 2013 - was marred by legal troubles interrupting his title reign and real life. A stretch of imprisonment and detainment was a major part of a 2014 to forget, his title loss to Cornelius Bundrage that October only adding to his woes.
Molina has since enjoyed a new lease on life, having been cleared of all criminal charges and permitted to walk and breathe as a free man. His career now seems back on track, with each win transitioning back to title contender form amidst a super welterweight division suddenly wide open for the taking.
Both bouts aired live on Televisa in Mexico.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox