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Molina adds dimension to his power

Story by Francisco Salazar
Photos by Big Joe Miranda

Although knockouts are great and spectacular, John Molina knows it
will take more than that to win world titles.

The young 26-year-old fighter may be gifted with the strength that
few young super featherweights in the world could match. However,
Molina understands that a fighter who is one-dimensional cannot
survive in this sport.

Almost three years after making his professional debut, Molina has improved steadily and will look to showcase why he is one of the top young fighters in his weight class today.

He will take on veteran Carlos Vinan in an eight round Friday night at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. The bout will precede the Eddie Chambers-Samuel Peter main event bout.

Molina (15-0, 11 KOs) burst onto the Southern California scene in March of 2006, scoring highlight-reel knockout victories over his overmatched opponents.

However, Molina suffered a few setbacks throughout his unbeaten run as a professional. Against crafty southpaw Ron Boyd, Molina suffered the first knockdown of his career. However, he would eventually stop Boyd in that same round of the fight.

Next, Molina squared off against tough Carlos Madrid almost a year ago on nationally-televised fight Telefutura. Fighting in a swing bout, Molina fought for the first time on national television.

Fighting near his hometown of Covina, Molina looked sluggish and cautious at times against the rugged Madrid, who did catch Molina a few times on the chin. However, he did enough to win a six-round unanimous decision.

“I was not happy with my performance,” said Molina, after the fight.“I was just jabbing and I did not let my hands go.”

So, it was back to the drawing board, as so many athletes say when they do not perform to the high levels that they expect to be at.

Working with longtime Southern California trainer Ben Lira, Molina has looked not looked not only stronger, but a lot more confident and more as a complete fighter.

He impressively stopped tough Jose Alfredo Lugo in the fourth round of a scheduled six round bout last May. Molina set up his punches well behind a jab and was aggressive when he had Lugo against the ropes, eventually dropping his brave opponent.

“He was tough, but I knew that I was able to eventually break him down as the fight wore on,” said Molina, who has won notable amateur titles before turning pro.

After two more impressive victories, promoter Dan Goossen was quick to sign Molina to a promotional contract. Now fighting under the Goossen Tutor Promotions banner, Molina will see more competitive and lucrative bouts down the road.

Promoter Dan Goossen likes what he sees in the young pugilist and sees a bright future for Molina.

“Fans are all about excitement in the ring. With John, he is strong for his weight class. Almost Tyson-esque. My brother Joe (Goossen) worked the mitts with him and said that he was one of the hardest-hitting fighters he has worked with.”

Molina got a taste of what could be bigger fights down the road. Molina knocked out Kpakpo Allotey in the third round of a scheduled eight round bout in Lemoore, CA. The bout preceded the Andre Ward-Henry Buchanan bout that was shown on SHOWTIME.

Now Molina will take on Vinan, who may not have the most stellar record at 8-6-3, with one knockout. However, he holds two victories over previously-unbeaten fighters Andrew Cancio and Eric Hunter. The Ecuadorian-born fighter who now resides in New Jersey also has an eight round split-decision draw against Eloy Perez.

A victory over Molina would sure give Vinan new life to is career and he could be the first to put the blemish on Molina’s record.

However, Molina is on the right track and has a mature state of mind with regards to his career. He is a quick study and is a fighter who enjoys learning about champions, past and present.

At almost five foot eleven inches tall, Molina will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with now as a super featherweight and later on down the road as a lightweight.

Molina knows that the skills that he has acquired in the gym will make a more complete fighter.

“As far as I’m concerned, the knockouts will come,” acknowledged Molina in a previous interview. “It’s more about taking my time and setting up everything. I have worked hard in the gym to improve my skills. Ben has taught me a lot and it’s all about executing.”

It sure will be. So far, he is on the right track towards becoming a world champion. Friday night may be another step in that direction.

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