By Keith Idec
John Molina Jr. might still fight Sunday night, but Victor Ortiz won’t be his opponent.
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com that Ortiz has been removed from that main event by Premier Boxing Champions, the organization run by Al Haymon, a day after Ortiz was charged with three felony accounts of sexual assault, including forcible rape. Ortiz, a former WBC welterweight champion, turned himself in to authorities in Ventura County, California, on Tuesday, a day after those three charges were filed.
Ventura County Superior Court records indicate the incident allegedly occurred March 19 at a residence in Oxnard, California. Ortiz’s bail was set at $100,000.
“We don’t comment on open criminal investigations,” said Tim Smith, a spokesman for PBC. “We’ll leave that up to his lawyers. We’re in the process of searching for another opponent for Molina.”
The 31-year-old Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs), of Ventura, California, was supposed to meet Molina (30-7, 24 KOs), of Covina, California, in what was expected to be an entertaining welterweight fight at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California. If PBC’s matchmakers cannot find a suitable substitute for Ortiz on such short notice and Molina thus can’t fight Sunday night, the show still will take place because 24 other fighters have trained to box in the remaining 12 fights on the card.
FS1, FOX’s basic cable channel, still will televise fights from that card as well. If Molina doesn’t box in the main event, it’s likely that a 10-round featherweight fight between Brandon Figueroa (16-0, 11 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, and Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25-4, 17 KOs) would be elevated to the main event.
The telecast also is scheduled to include an eight-round bout in which highly touted British heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (5-0, 5 KOs) will square off against Georgia’s Iago Kiladze (26-3, 18 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.