Long before Showtime's
spotlight shines on IBF bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko and his challenger
Abner Mares on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, lightweight
Carlos Molina begins his belated start to 2011 by facing Juan Manuel Montiel in
an eight-rounder. Molina has been out of action since November.
Since defeating John
Figueroa to run his record to 14-0 (7), he has been beset by one ailment after
another. So what was supposed to be a pivotal year in Molina’s development has
been one that has seen him dormant.
"It's been real
frustrating. I tried working through these hand injuries I had and it was a bad
mistake on my part," he said last Friday afternoon at the MMA Elite
Academy in Santa Fe Springs, California, after finishing up his days work with
trainer Clemente Medina. "I should've just rested my hand instead of
trying to push through it. But everything happens for a reason. Now I've been
training real hard. Come August 13th, all these frustrations I've
been having, I'm going take out on my opponent. So I wanna just stay busy and
hopefully I don't reinjure my hand again. My hands are 100 percent now. We're
ready to go."
The damaged hand was Molina’s
"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
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
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
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
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)...