Lucas Matthysse was the only opponent who made John Molina Jr. swallow blood.

The nerve damage Molina suffered in his left eye during their brutal battle also is the reason why Molina wears glasses. As if that’s not bad enough, Molina had 17 staples placed in the left side of his head to a close a nasty gash he suffered in a vicious slugfest he lost by 11th-round knockout in April 2014 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“We knew it was either kill or be killed, especially with my style and Matthysse’s style,” Molina told “And we knew there was a chance that we may not walk out of there.”

Two days short of the six-year anniversary of their ferocious fight, Showtime will air it again Friday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The network also will replay Molina’s 10th-round knockout of Mickey Bey immediately after its encore of Matthysse-Molina, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fight of the Year” for 2014.

“Although I lost,” Molina said, “it was really a win because after that fight my career really sky-rocketed and I became more of a household name.”

An extremely tough Molina, who was a big underdog, dropped the hard-hitting Matthysse in the second and fifth rounds. Matthysse withstood those knockdowns, as well as a cut over his left eye, and came back to drop Molina in the eighth, 10th and 11th rounds. Referee Pat Russell stopped their junior welterweight fight 22 seconds into the 11th round, as soon as Molina hit the canvas for the third time from Matthysse’s right hand.

“It was my first fight under the Al Haymon banner, which was a big deal,” Molina said. “So, I kind of wanted to prove my point and show the world that I belonged. We got into that fight, and I remember in the first round hurting him with a right hand. I said, ‘Wait a minute! He’s not a machine. He’s human.’ I buckled him. And then in the second round I dropped him. It was actually the right hand I hit him with that hurt him. And then the little, looper shot dropped him.

“But I thought Matthysse was such a veteran at that time that he was playing possum, so that I would go in and he would try and knock me out. So, I took my foot off the gas pedal a little bit. And he definitely took advantage of that.”

The 37-year-old Molina (30-9, 24 KOs), of Covina, California, retired right after an eighth-round knockout loss to Josesito Lopez on September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.