Heavyweight Mike Mollo thrilled to be back in the ring
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 23, 2013)
When you’re an Italian who can punch and compete in the heavyweight division, it’s not presumptuous to assume that one name will pop up next to yours - especially if you’re knocking people out.
That name is Rocky Marciano.
Early in his career, hard-punching Mike Mollo felt the pressure of the Marciano parallel. Instead of running away from the comparison, Mollo embraced it, acknowledging his admiration for the legendary “Brockton Blockbuster.”
“I grew up watching film of Rocky Marciano. Both of our families came from Naples, Italy, so Rocky was a hero to my family,” Mollo told www.eastsideboxing.com a few years ago.
Mollo, 32, returns to action February 1 for the first time in over two years against undefeated hotshot Artur Szpilka (12-0, 9 KOs) at a venue he knows well, the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.
The past 30 month have not been very kind to the native Chicagoan. Primed for a significant match against a top-ranked opponent, he suffered one career setback after another.
“I’ve had some major let downs in fights last year,” Mollo told this writer last week. “It was an extremely disappointing year for me.”
Even with the disappointments, managerial included Mollo soldiers on, his dream of being heavyweight champion of the world empowered by his faith and inner determination.
“I live a boxer’s life,” said Mollo. “I’ve been in the gym training the whole time I’ve been off. My dedication is second to none.”
A few months ago, as he readied himself for any upcoming fights that might occur, Mollo began working with former heavyweight contender Darnell “Doc” Nicholson of Chicago. Nicholson fought for the heavyweight crown in 2003 against champion Vladimir Klitschko. His record as a professional was an outstanding 45 wins and only 5 losses. Mollo feels that Nicolson can take him to the next level.
“I’m still learning and developing in the gym,” said Mollo. “I recently started working with a new coach a few months ago, ‘Doc’ Nicholson. He’s had a major impact on me inside and outside of the ring.
“He’s an awesome coach as well as a person,” added Mollo.
Mollo lost close decisions to Andrew Golota and Jameel McCline (a fighter Szpilka defeated six months ago) in 2008.
“I fought Golota with broken ribs," said Mollo. "I’m not making excuses, but anyone who’s seem me fight would say that wasn’t the same Mike Mollo. I suffered a broken rib in my first sparring session. I fought Andrew with no sparring, strength training, or bag work. All I could do to prepare was run and shadow box," he said.
The McCline decision still bothers Mollo.
“I feel I was robbed against Jameel, but did learn a lot from the fight,” Mollo said.
Mollo’s knock out victories over Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBribe, and Art Binkowski, were career highlights. Many were shocked at the ease with which he dispatched McBride.
“They were both Olympians and the fashion that I won was impressive to many,” said Mollo.
Mollo’s goals for 2013 are simple.
“I just want to get back into the ring and stay busy,” said Mollo. “I never have ducked anyone and in the last year, I signed fight contracts with Chris Arreola, Seth Mitchell, and Franklin Lawrence. All the fights fell through and not because of me.
“I'm a hard working blue collar guy with a family to provide for,” Mollo added.
“All I want to do is fight.”
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