By Jake Donovan
Adrian Estrella and former super welterweight champ 'King' Carlos Molina will headline the 2016 season premiere of Sabados de Box on Televisa. The two boxers will appear in separate bouts on January 23 at Domo Care in Guadalupe, Mexico.
Estrella (24-1, 22KOs) guns for his third straight win as he faces Venezuela's Alfonso Perez in a lightweight bout, while Molina takes on Colombia's Jose Agustin Feria.
"We are looking forward to this January 23 show, to start off the 2016 season on Televisa," Promociones del Pueblo's Oswaldo Kuchle told BoxingScene.com. "We're going strong from (next) weekend throughout the rest of the year, with 45 shows planned."
Also on the show is flyweight hopefuly Lourdes Juarez, whose opponent is still being secured. Juarez' older sister, Marianna appears two weeks later on Televisa versus Florida's Noemi Bosques.
Molina (23-6-2, 7KOs) enjoys a relatively quick turnaround after legal issues have slowed his career progress to a crawl. Always ready to fight, the 32-year old boxer advanced from gatekeeper to champion following an upset 12-round win over Ishe Smith to claim a super welterweight title in their Sept. '13 clash. Wins over the likes of Kermit Cintron, Damian Frias and Cory Spinks - and even a disqualification loss to James Kirkland in a March '12 fight he was handily winning - paved the way for his first shot at a major title.
On paper, his reign lasted for over a year, but only due to being jailed and subsequently deported to Mexico due to charges stemming from alleged immigration violations. The boxer - who relocated to the Chicagoland area (though Wisconsin, specifically) - was charged with and plead no-contest to second-degree sexual assault of a child in 2002. He was stripped of his permanent resident status in the United States and was deported to Mexico in 2006.
Molina returned to the United States later that year, with all of his career bouts taking place stateside before the law caught up to him. It happened to come five days before a scheduled March '14 title defense versus Jermell Charlo, with the fight ultimately canceled.
Upon his release from Clark County Detention Center, he was ordered to return to Mexico, where his next fight would take place. It didn't go well, dropping a 12-round decision to Cornelius Bundrage in his lone attempted title defense.
Life has turned around for the better since that night. The permanent resident ruling in the state of Wisconsin has since been vacated and his criminal record cleared of all previous charges. Molina has also returned to the win column in the ring, scoring a 3rd round stoppage over Manuel Garcia last September, in a non-televised bout preceding a Televisa-aired doubleheader.
This time, the former champ gets to appear in front of the cameras and plans to make the most of what he is treating as a launching pad for a big year.
"I will go out looking to make an offensive fight, always with a winning mentality and looking for any holes in his defense to try to knock him out," Molina promises. "I'm proud to fight in Mexico again and defend my country in this international clash (versus Colombia's Feria).
"I know very well that each win is a ticket to (another) shot at the championship, so look for the very best Carlos Molina on January 23."
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox