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.”