By Jake Donovan
Mickey Bey was miles ahead on all three scorecards and had just three minutes to go in his Showtime-televised headliner versus John Molina, Jr. last July. Then disaster struck.
Molina Jr. rallied back hard, catching Bey coming in to start a fight-ending flurry that all but left the unbeaten lightweight out on his feet. Referee Vic Drakulich gave the rising prospect his fair chance to recover and fight back, but was left with no choice but to stop the fight with just under one minute left.
To date, it’s the only fight that Bey failed to win, and in a fight he was handily winning until he wasn’t. Two straight wins have followed heading into his first major title shot, when he faces lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez. The bout takes place on September 13 in supporting capacity to the pay-per-view rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather was front and center for Bey’s loss to Molina, serving as the lead promoter for the event. The two spoke at length after the fight, a night Bey has long ago put in the rearview mirror.
“I got past it, probably the day after,” Bey (20-1-1, 10KOs) says of mentally moving on with his career. “It wasn't like a thing where I had to go back and get better. I feel like I was showboating to the crowd. Against a big puncher, that's a mistake. I took his best punches (almost) the whole fight.
“Floyd wasn't tough on me but he gave me some great advice. After the fight, he told me 'That's boxing' and that it ain't over until it's over.”
Molina nearly pulled off another major upset since then, twice flooring Lucas Matthysse but also suffering a pair of knockdowns of his own en route to a 10th round stoppage loss. The bout is among the leading contenders for Fight of the Year, and offered a brave enough performance to where he’s brought back into the spotlight. The Californian will also appear on the September 13 undercard, facing former super featherweight and lightweight titlist Humberto Soto live on Showtime just prior to the PPV portion of the evening.
There’s no ulterior motive behind both fighters appearing on the same show, although wins by both could very well generate chatter of a possible rematch. Molina spends his time in the 140 lb. division these days, while Bey seems comfortable at lightweight.
It’s entirely possible that Bey goes the rest of his days without having the opportunity to avenge the lone loss of his career to date. That said, there was a time when he definitively wanted the opportunity to erase that one hiccup.
“We wanted to get (the rematch) done right after,” Bey insists. “He's the one that didn't want it. I threw the fight away. It wasn't (Julio Cesar) Chavez and (Meldrick) Taylor or anything like that. It was a bad mistake that I did. I'm not taking credit, he got the win. But I made a mistake by goofing off.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox