Molina: The Underdog No More
Junior middleweight "King" Carlos Molina is playing a different role than the one he’s become accustomed to lately.
Coming off the biggest wins of his career, a majority draw against red-hot Cuban prospect Erislandy Lara that most observers felt he had won, and a clear decision over former world champion Kermit Cintron, Molina will soon be entering the ring as the favorite.
He’s not used to that.
“I’m usually the underdog,” laughs the 27-year-old Chicagoan via Mexico. “But it doesn’t affect me at all. When you’re the favorite, you go do what you’re supposed to do and not worry about anybody else.”
Back in 2009, Molina (17-4-2, 5 KOs) had put together an excellent nine-fight string of victories over fighters he was not expected to beat including Alexis Camacho (then 17-1); current WBO #9-rated Ed Paredes (then 21-2); and Danny Perez (then 34-5) for the WBO NABO Light Middleweight title. The Perez victory even put Molina in the top 15 of their world ratings. Unfortunately after that fight, Molina spent nearly two years inactive because of a contract dispute with his former promoter, Don King.
The layoff following the Perez win was not the first time bad luck or politics had affected his career. In 2005, Molina scored what should have been a breakthrough victory over “Son of a Legend” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. only to be given a draw on the scorecards. The two fought again in 2006 and this time Molina dropped a questionable majority decision.
“According to my trainer, I’ve only lost one fight. It was close but I was knocked down once and that was the difference.”
Molina prepares at the JABB Gym in Chicago with longtime trainers Victor Mateo and Lou Askenette. Coming off 20 months on the shelf to put in a surprisingly strong performance against Lara, he explains, was the result of never having stopped training, even during the dispute with King. “That’s why I took the fight with Lara, to get back to where I left off. I was always in the gym. I was running and working out five days a week and focusing on trying to improve things.”
Molina had only six amateur fights before turning pro. “I didn’t like fighting only three rounds. I said ‘you train that hard for three rounds?’ I said I might as well turn pro.”
The rest is history in the making.