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Matthysse-Molina Steals the Show in California

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)

By Bill Tibbs

Keith “One Time” Thurman remained undefeated with an impressive stoppage of tough, former world lightweight champion Julio Diaz on Saturday night in Carson, California. However, the semi-main event between Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse, 35-3 (33), and John Molina, 27-4 (22), will be the water cooler chatter in days to come. Matthysse rose from the deck and gut-checked his way to an 11th round knockout that is going to be a hard bout to beat as the “Fight of the Year.”
Matthysse was entering the fight coming off a loss to undefeated Philadelphia slugger Danny “Swift” Garcia last September in a fight which many fans thought Matthysse would be too strong for Garcia. However, Danny held strong, handling everything Matthysse dished out, dropping “The Machine” late in the fight, going on to win a unanimous decision. While Garcia’s stock certainly rose that night, the Matthysse brand took a bit of a hit. However, Saturday night’s slugfest that saw both fighters up and down like a fiddler’s elbow will certainly do a lot to generate interest in any upcoming bouts involving either Matthysse or Molina. In short, fights like the Matthysse-Molina battle remind people why boxing is such an exciting sport and you never know when a gem is going to come down the pipe.

While the styles of Molina and Matthysse made for a good tussle on paper, things don’t always play out that way. But Saturday night’s thriller was a first-rate, Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward-esque classic.
Molina came out of the gate strong, hurting Matthysse early and depositing him on the deck in round two. He again later dropped the number one-ranked Argentinean tough guy onto the canvas in the fifth round. However, Lucas stormed back into a fight that saw two-way, bomb-dropping action all night, dropping Molina in the eighth, 10th and 11th rounds. Molina was hurt at the end of the 10th round with the ringside doctor taking a serious look at him between rounds but he bravely came out for the 11th. Matthysse poured it on, drilling the game Covina, California-based Molina with a three-punch combination that dropped him and forced the stoppage by referee Pat Russell.
“Molina is a tough fighter. He took some big blows (14 unanswered at the end of the 10th). I was a bit surprised he came back out for the 11th,” said Matthysse. “It was a war and it got complicated for me at the beginning but we trained for this and we got the knockout. He hit me in the back of the head [in the second] and I crumbled a bit but I was waiting to find my distance and I was able to finish a tough fight.”
“I am very disappointed,” Molina stated afterward, “We gave the fans a good fight and I’m happy about that. I wasn’t well-known before this fight but I feel like I am now. I’m disappointed I didn’t finish Lucas. I had him hurt but this is a learning experience. I only had a few amateur fights, so I’m learning from every experience.
“Joe Goossen had a great game plan and we were sticking to it. Lucas Matthysse is the real deal. Even though he lost to Garcia, he still is the number one-rated fighter. I’d love to fight him again. I wanted to continue but the referee and judges have their jobs to do.
However, sometimes even when you lose, you win and this will certainly be the case with John Molina. The exciting banger will have no problem filling the room the next time he fights. After the fight, Matthysse spoke of his previous loss to World Junior Welterweight Champion Garcia and stated, “I want the rematch. I feel that he had very good luck that night. I want the rematch.” While the feeling is that Garcia will head to 147 soon, last night’s war certainly generated interest in a possible rematch at any weight. But if that rematch doesn’t materialize, fight fans are more than anxious to see Matthysse-Molina: Part Two. The 31-year-old, Southern Californian Molina came into the fight hot off two big wins. He had stopped previously undefeated Mickey Bey in the 10th round last July and had knocked out Jorge Pimentel last November in two rounds. And despite the loss Saturday night, he is still a hot commodity after his herculean performance - even in a losing effort.
Said Molina, “We gave the fans a good fight and I’m happy about that. It was a helluva fight. This was the fight of the year. I’d like to do it again.” There is no doubt fight fans would like to see it again.
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at
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