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A Comeback, a Setback and Some Fun at 135

By Bill Tibbs


To call lightweight John Molina’s exciting, 10th round stoppage win over Mickey Bey last Friday night a “comeback” may be mildly inaccurate. Following a 1-2 mark in his three prior bouts, a loss would have certainly been a major setback to say the least. And a setback it was for previously undefeated (and Floyd Mayweather promoted) Bey, 18-1-1 (9), at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Showtime. Trailing on all three judges’ scorecards heading into the final round, a short, sharp left hook from Covina, California’s Molina clipped the Las Vegas-based, Ohio-bred Bey and the nonstop follow-up of head and body shots forced referee Vic Drakulich to step in and halt the action at 2:01. While the talented Bey, who has only seen one draw in his otherwise clean ledger, certainly now needs to regroup, the dramatic fashion in which Molina grabbed his victory potentially puts him in line for some very exciting action in and around the 135 pound division.
 
Going in with a major title shot under his belt and three losses on the docket, Molina, 30, was seemingly the experienced “name” opponent Bey would use to take the next step in his career. And all was going according to plan for Bey heading into the final round last Friday night. But, a short, well-timed Molina left hook landed right on the button. Realizing he had a window, Molina jumped on his dazed opponent and didn’t let up until Drakulich stepped in to stop the punishment. While some of Team Mayweather initially appeared frustrated by the stoppage, it was clear that Bey was badly hurt, ultimately justifying the stoppage.

John Molina entered the ring with a record of 25-3 (20) on Friday night. He turned pro in the spring of 2006 and would remain undefeated in his first 18 fights. His first loss was to tough, experienced former world title challenger Martin Honorio in the fall of 2009. Molina then strung together six wins (including a July 2010 TKO win over “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy, also victorious on last Friday’s undercard), vaulting him to 26-1 and his first world title shot against Antonio DeMarco for the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title in the fall of 2012. In a disappointing and frustrating night for Molina, he was stopped in the first round. He came back four months later to kick off 2013 with a KO win in four against Dannie Williams. Molina returned last month and lost a close majority decision to undefeated Russian Andrey Klimov. And just five weeks later, Molina found himself facing Bey.
 
At age 30, Bey, who has had gaps of inactivity in his career, was fighting for the second time this year and was certainly hoping a victory over Molina would be a springboard to bigger and better things. However, Molina stayed game, hung tough and seized his opportunity when it arose against the crafty, slick Bey. Molina said after the fight that he realized it “was now, right now, going into the last round” and scored the kind of late, dramatic stoppage gets promoters and networks alike lining up.
 
Hot on the heels from as TV-friendly a victory as you will ever see from Molina (and the likes of Adrien Broner, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Richar Abril, to name a few, in the lightweight mix), some new doors just opened up for John Molina.
 
And things just got real fun at 135.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 

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