By Allan Cerf
Background: The young and talented Anthony Joshua takes on Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina in heavyweight action on Sky Sports Box Office, December 10th and Showtime in the USA.
Last we saw the ultra-game Molina, he was chin-checking Deontay, “I got injured” Wilder. Wilder is another heavy whose credentials I question and Molina, between being dropped and bitch-slapped around the ring, briefly turned the tables with thunder on the Alabaman’s chin. That hook had DW reeling around like Granny Clampett at a spring cleaning.
When Molina has stepped up (including his first-ever bout) he’s been stopped. He has nothing beyond a decent punch and a helluva heart to stave off Joshua, who throws amazingly accurate, swift and powerful punches. What Molina has - ain’t enough.
I strongly feel Joshua (who Manager Eddie Hearn says has a strong say regarding opponents) is doing himself and Boxing-Mad Britain a disservice. However- if you’re a KO junkie - and I am - it will be AJ’s pleasure to provide one.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Anthony Joshua: A, A, C+, A, B, B+, C- (Average of all) B
Eric Molina C-, C +, D, C-, C-, C, B+ (Average of all) C
Reality Check: It’s easy to like both warriors, Molina for being a trial-horse yet loves the game and Joshua for being intelligent, personable and mega-talented. While amateur boxing is a distant cousin of the pro game, Joshua got 3 home-baked Olympic decisions, a couple of which weren’t terribly close. This MUST in some way, reflect on him, as does his fighting nothing but step-ups. He should already have faced Chisora or equivalent. He didn’t and doesn’t deserve a Klitschko.
On present form, Tyson Fury easily beats him. The perfect fight, which is supposedly ‘marinating’ (sigh) is Wilder. That would be worth shelling out 20 quid for. In that fight, for one pugilist - the way is down and probably out. However, this is 2016 and we fans get Swanson Frozen Dinners - not filet mignon. The best we can hope for is Molina landing a sneaky bomb and Joshua getting the requisite whisker test. Strangely, this was said to be a necessary fight for the Brit, as he “needs rounds.” I need weekly gold shares and neither me or A.J should hold our breath.
Personal: I’ve covered the reformed character and cool, nice guy A.J. at length before. Eric Molina almost quit boxing to teach and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in education and has already taught, which is pretty damn cool. Two classy fighters.
Prediction: My fondest hope? Teacher Molina poses a ‘pop’ left hook quiz that forces Joshua to really dig deep. That won’t happen. Joshua will blow Molina away via KO 5.