Blood and guts warrior John Molina Jr. calls it a career
By John J. Raspanti
"There comes a time in every fighter’s career when he has to be honest with himself," Molina told ESPN. "I must say it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to decide… but I’m afraid this career has run its course. It’s now time for me to enjoy the time with my beautiful family.
John Molina Jr.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to co-write (with Dennis Taylor) a duel biography on Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. We called Gatti and Ward “blood brothers,” due to their desire to win at all costs.
Gatti and Ward crossed my mind when I read that John Molina Jr. had announced his retirement.
Molina was cut from the same cloth as Gatti and Ward. His style was pure throwback to a time when fighters let it all hang out. He wasn’t very quick, but made up for it with inner toughness.
In a way, he reminded me of former middleweight champion, Rocky Graziano. Both were Italian, limited in skill, but loaded with guts. They also were the possessors of right hands packed with dynamite.
That right-hand saved Molina against Hank Lundy, and Mickey Bey. Molina was losing to both, badly, but his right wasn’t close to giving up. When it landed, both Lundy, in 2010, and Bey, three years later, sank to the canvas.
Molina’s battle with former champion, Lucas Matthysse, five years ago, had boxing fans yelling themselves horse. Molina floored Matthysse twice during the 33-minute battle.
Matthysse returned the favor in round seven – winning by stoppage four rounds later. Molina’s war with Matthysse was honored as “The Fight of the Year” in 2014.
Molina defeated Ruslan Provodnikov, and more recently, rose from the deck to knock out Ivan Redkach.
And so as I say goodbye to a real warrior, I think back to all the thrills he gave boxing fans.
John Molina fought with the ferocity of a lion-with a heart as big and deep as an ocean.
Thank you, John, and as always, keep punching.