It hasn’t been a stellar year for boxing (at least in the States) but it had a gem on Saturday night at the StubHub Center as junior welterweights Lucas Matthysse and John Molina waged war over 11 memorable rounds. Finally, ’the Machine’ and his superior skills was able to subdue the hard-hitting banger from Covina, California.
But he had to hit the deck twice in the process in the second and the fifth frames from booming right hands from Molina, who lived up to his reputation as a bona-fide puncher. But as Matthysse relied on his jab to open things up, he began to control the pace of the bout in the middle rounds and then proceeded to close in and work the body to Molina.
“It was a war,’’ said Matthysse, who improved his record to 35-3 with 33 KOs. “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.
The Argentine floored Molina in the eighth and then at the end of the tenth. The end was near for Molina who fought on gamely but was sent to the canvas again at the beginning of the eleventh frame. At that point referee Pat Russell had no choice but to wave the off. “Molina is a tough fighter. He took some big blows. I was a bit surprised he came back out for the 11th," said Matthysse, who bounced back from his September loss to Danny Garcia in rousing fashion.
As for Molina, in many ways, he won, despite losing. It was the type of effort that erases the Antonio Demarco debacle.
“I am very disappointed. 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,"he would say afterwords.
Matthysse-Molina, which was fought in front of an announced crowd of just over 6,700, is a clear candidate for 2014 Fight of the Year.
Also on this Showtime triple-header, Omar Figueroa was less than impressive in defeating Jerry Belmontes via split decision to retain his WBC lightweight title. In the nights main event, Keith Thurman scored a third round TKO over veteran Julio Diaz, who had to call it a day with a busted rib that was suffered in the second round.