John Molina’s reign as a lightweight contender was perhaps not much more than a minute away from being over. But in the 10th and final round of a fight he was losing handily to Mickey Bey on Friday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a left hook by Molina put Bey in la-la land. Bey did not go down, but Molina rained several more blows down on Bey, and referee Vic Drakulich stopped the bout at 2:01 of the round.
Molina’s shocking, table-turning TKO victory gives him a record of 26-3-1 with 21 knockouts. He was behind big on all three scorecards – 90-81, 89-82, 88-83.
Molina, of Covina, had lost two of his past three fights. In one of them, he was stopped in the first round in a challenge to world champion Antonio DeMarco. The general feeling in boxing circles was that Molina, at 30, could not afford another loss so soon if he was going to get another shot at a title.
It was the first loss for Bey, 30, of Cleveland. He’s now 18-1-1. In Bey’s previous fight, he knocked out Robert Rodriguez in the third round in February at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. It was changed to a no-contest when Bey tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. He was fine and suspended three months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
John Molina of Covina began his career 25-1. But he’s lost two of his past three fights, meaning he really needs a victory Friday night against Mickey Bey if he is to remain a contender for a lightweight world title. Molina and Bey, of Cleveland, will square off in the main event at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas (on Showtime). Their fight figures to start around 9 p.m.
Molina (25-3, 20 KOs), a Charter Oak High graduate, challenged Antonio DeMarco for his lightweight title this past September in Oakland. Molina was stopped in the first round. Molina rebounded with a fourth-round knockout of Dannie Williams, but on June 7 he was out-boxed by Andrey Klimov of Russia, Klimov winning a majority decision.
Molina is still just 30, but another loss could make it difficult for him to get another title shot. He seems to know he needs a victory over Bey (18-0-1, 9 KOs).
“Perception-wise, this is a very important fight for me and it’s certainly in my best interests to get a victory,” Molina said. “I know what’s ahead of me with a win. A win puts me right back in the thick of things. Mickey Bey is a hell of a fighter and a hell of a boxer. Our styles will make for an explosive fight.”
Molina has changed trainers many times during his career. Recently, he went back to Joe Goossen after having been with Robert Garcia.
After knocking out Robert Rodriguez in the third round in February at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, super featherweight Mickey Bey of Cleveland sported a record of 19-0-1 with 10 knockouts. But he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels afterward and that victory was changed to a no-contest, leaving him at 18-0-1 with nine knockouts.
It was a setback for the 30-year-old Bey, who still maintains he was not guilty of taking banned substances. But he has moved on and Friday he will take on John Molina of Covina in the lightweight main event at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (on Showtime).
That fight against Rodriguez was Bey’s first under the Mayweather Promotions banner.
“I should have been champion many years ago,” said Bey, who once again is being trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. “When I’m on point, there isn’t anybody who can hang in there with me. It’s just a relief to be signed with Mayweather Promotions, who’s got my best interests in mind on every level. You’re going to see better performances out of me just because of that.”
Bey knows one thing, Molina (25-3, 20 KOs) can crack, even if his technical boxing skills are not the best.
“I think John Molina is a good fighter, tough and strong,” Bey said. “He’s got a lot of punching power and he’s got a lot of knockouts. I think he’s a real solid opponent. He’s not the best technically, skill-wise, but he’s got experience and a lot of power. That’s always dangerous, although I’ve got a great defense. People fought him thinking they would beat him and left with a KO on their record. That’s one thing I’m aware of.”
It took Ishe Smith nearly 13 years to win a major world title. He did that when he defeated Cornelius Bundrage via majority decision in February to take a junior middleweight belt.
Smith, of Las Vegas, will have to wait a little longer to make his first defense. It was slated for July 19 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas against Carlos Molina of Chicago, but Smith has sustained a cut over his right eye in sparring, and that fight has been postponed.
A new date has not been set.
The card, which is to be televised by Showtime, will go on as planned. One of the two featured TV bouts will see John Molina (25-3, 20 KOs) of Covina taking on undefeated Mickey Bey (18-0-1, 9 KOs). Bey, a super featherweight from Cleveland, will be moving up in weight to take on Molina in the lightweight division.
John Molina, a lightweight out of Covina, entered his fight Friday night against Andrey Klimov ranked as high as No. 4 in the world by one of the major governing bodies. A victory would have put him closer to another title shot.
It didn’t happen. Klimov, of Russia, out-boxed Molina and it was Klimov who came away with a majority decision by scores of 95-95 (Alan Krebs), 96-94 (Hunter Walton) and 97-93 (Tom McDonough) at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash. That last score seemed a bit out of whack, but the decision was not controversial.
Molina landed the harder punches, to be sure, just not enough of them as Klimov used his feet well to stay out of serious harm’s way; Molina did shake him up with some power shots in the fourth round.
The setback is a blow to Molina. It will now be harder for him to land that second championship fight. He challenged lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco in September 2012, DeMarco stopping Molina in the first round.
Molina, 30, is 25-3 with 20 knockouts. Klimov, 30, is 16-0 with eight knockouts.
Unfortunately for John Molina of Covina, he fights in a boxing world today where, unless you are an established star, you better not lose more than a fight or two, or you’ll have a hard time getting there.
Take the networks. Molina had just gotten on HBO for the first time, then got stopped in the first round in a challenge to lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco in September 2012 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. It was a big stage, as it was on the undercard of the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson super middleweight title fight.
Molina came back with an impressive fourth-round knockout of Dannie Williams in January at Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, N.M. That was televised by ESPN2. And a week from Friday – on June 7 – Molina (25-2, 20 KOs) will be squaring off with Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KOs) of Russia in Shelton, Wash. (on ESPN2).
A good showing could get Molina back on HBO, and in the limelight. One thing’s for sure, Molina has enough power to take out any opponent with one punch, as his 74 percent knockout ratio attests. That helps keep him attractive to the networks.
Molina is 30. Klimov, also 30, is 15-0 with eight knockouts.