The damaged hand was Molina’s right.
"I think it was the tendon. I was hitting with it; I felt a little something," he explained, "but I was like, ’Ah, it’s nothing’ and it just got worse and worse as I continued training until I finally couldn’t make a fist. So I just needed to let it rest. That’s what we’ve been doing, resting, but we’ve been in the gym giving it all for this fight. We’ll be ready."
Molina is still young but admittedly, progress up the boxing ladder was lost.
"A lot," said his manager, Frank Espinoza, who also handles Mares’ career, "because first of all, as a manager, you want to keep your fighters busy at all times and when you don’t have your fighters fighting, they get rusty. They’re not active and their careers aren’t moving along like you want them to move. He’s 25 years old now. We want to start moving him quickly right now."
Also hampering Molina was a case of the flu during the spring. Yeah, this guy just couldn’t catch a break. "I got sick real bad. I couldn’t even get out of bed or do anything, so as soon as I talked to Frank, right away, he was like, ’Just rest. We’re not going to chance anything. You’re young. You still have a long career for us to risk anything.’ I’m blessed I got the backing of a great manager with Frank Espinoza and Golden Boy and Clemente [and] my dad. I got a great team. I just gotta listen to whatever they tell me."
So what did this boxer do while he was sidelined?
Molina sighed and admitted, "Man, at one point I was going through some type of depression because I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to leave my house but yeah, I got a great family. I got my two kids that I’m always with. So my like my kids, every time I’m getting ready to leave, they always tell me, ’Where you going?’ ’I’m going to go train,’ and my little one always tells me, ’Hit ’em harder! Hit ’em harder!’ So they motivate me a lot. So I love this sport and I’m going to stay in this sport as long as I can."
This spell has been difficult for everyone involved. Medina, who has a big night ahead of him in the corner on Saturday night (as he also trains Mares), said to Maxboxing, "It’s hard for me; it’s hard for Carlos. I’ve talked to the manager; we need to put him sooner [in a] fight because ‘Carlitos,’ he has problems with the weight. Carlos has a lot of ability, his speed, good combinations, the problems when we wait too long for one fight, he doesn’t go back to the gym soon. So he takes too much weight."
Yes, there is certainly a sense of urgency to make up for lost time but there is also the realization that Rome cannot be rebuilt in a day. Robert Diaz, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, says, "Carlos has the talent and experience. He’s begged us that he’s ready for the bigger fights. We think he’s going to need that soon because to get motivated, they start starving on those names. But obviously, we want to see on this fight- we’re expecting to see some rust and I’m expecting that in the later rounds he’ll start shaking it off- so I see a distance fight."
The rest of 2011 will be about activity. "I think this year, if we can get him in a couple fights, just to get the rust off. Keep in mind, we’re eight months into the year, so we gotta slow down because what you had advanced, you pretty much lost right now," Diaz points out. "So just get him back in there, make sure the injuries are past him, that he’s not going to come out after a fight, ’My hand, my shoulder’ or whatever, that he’s 100 percent ready to go."
Medina says, "He needs maybe two, three fights, more. I talk to the manager, ’Put him to the title; he’s ready,’ because he has a lot of ability."
Molina is not a power-puncher but one that relies on quick-handed flurries. His style is conducive to fan-friendly, back-and-forth affairs but at 5’6”, he’s much better off at 135 pounds than he is at 140. In the past, it was a struggle to maintain his optimal weight but Diaz stated optimistically, "I did see a turning point in Carlos and I was very happy to see after the Humberto Tapia fight, where he took unnecessary punishment, he got with a conditioning coach. He started working harder, stopped with the struggling with weight the last couple of days and ever since that, he looked much better. From the fight he had out at Pico Rivera [against Glenn Gonzales, a fifth round stoppage] and with Figueroa, he’s been more dominant because he’s concentrating more on the boxing than on the weight."
When asked how he was able to control the poundage, Molina smiled and said with a laugh, "That was part of the little depression I was in, man, but I still managed to get my workouts in. But yeah, I needed to refocus everything. The past is the past. I just gotta focus on being a world champion."
The card on Saturday begins at 2:15 in the afternoon (doors open at 2) at the Hard Rock...Also on the undercard is Eric Morel who faces Daniel Quevedo...This week’s edition of “Solo Boxeo” has veteran Antonio Diaz getting his gold watch fight against Ernesto Zepeda at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Temecula, CA…The very badly-faded Vivian Harris is out as Ronald Cruz’s opponent on September 9th in Philly. The fight is officially nixed...Speaking of Philly, if Steve Smith is physically ready to go, that’s another nice offensive piece for the “Iggles”...Check out the new website of RA the Rugged Man, who gives his thoughts in hip-hop and boxing at www.ratheruggedman.net...“Master Chef” has been really good this year, a strong class of contestants. Not so much in “Hell’s Kitchen,” though...So Rex Grossman said that the Skins would take the NFC East? Yeah, here’s guessing that he isn’t exactly “Broadway Joe”...Have you seen our great new Maxboxing/YouTube videos, courtesy of our outstanding videographer Brian Harty and on-air ace Radio Rahim? They feature Bernard Hopkins on Chad Dawson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kin_HlUiSUI), Dawson on Hopkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvkfFBJnuLs) and the press conference touting their upcoming fight on October 15 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cpc2CudCzM)...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.