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“I anticipate I will go through Hell that night. But the power I will possess Saturday night will be difficult for DeMarco to overcome. It’s my time now–and I’m ready!”–JOHN MOLINA JR.
This year continues to be a memorable one for lightweight John Molina Jr. (24-1, 19 KOs).
His boyhood dream of winning a world title can come true THIS Saturday, September 8, when he locks horns with WBC Lightweight Champ Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. This is one collision that could steal the show; one clash that many say won’t go the distance. The pair will square off on the HBO undercard of the Andre Ward and Chad Dawson main event presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
Scheduled for 12 rounds, Molina has 36 minutes to take the crown–and the championship belt–from reigning WBC Lightweight Champion DeMarco. During our phone interview today, Covina, California’s Molina told me the final prep has been going well–and his team is ready for this weekend.
If he walks away with the victory this Saturday night, the 29-year-old will see one of his dreams come to fruition. Molina has earned a WBO NABO title but says he has been wanting to win a major world title since he was about 10 years old. Currently training with famed coach Joe Goossen, Team Molina is confident they can beat DeMarco.
I spoke to the heavy hitter on Monday night; the crew will leave Tuesday morning to Oakland in preparation for the HBO showdown. “I’ll be going up early with my parents, my wife and coach,” the Goossen Tutor fighter says. “The rest of our team will be there Thursday. My dad, Joe, Javier and George Diaz (“Kid Flash) are the best–the hardest working corner out there.”
“I had the most intensive training camp I’ve ever had in my life,” John continues. “I know that’s always the cliché. But this time, hands down, was the best camp ever. Period. With strength and conditioning, boxing, mentally, physically, spiritually–from every angle it was the best. I feel amazing–I’m ready to do it!”
“How was it sparring southpaws?” I ask.
“Oh it’s been nothing but southpaws the last 8 weeks; I can’t even remember what fighting an orthodox guy is like,” he jokes. “We had some wars and I can tell you I viciously knocked out four of my sparring partners and these were some of the top guys around!”
While outside the ring, Molina and DeMarco were very respectful toward each other at their recent press conference. But John says it’s war once the bell rings. “It really IS gonna be a war; it’s life and death in there,” he tells me, steel in his voice. “I anticipate I will go through Hell that night. But the power I will possess Saturday night will be difficult for DeMarco to overcome. It’s my time now–and I’m ready!”
At this earlier press conference, I also had a chance to visit with the camp and meet a big team of Molina supporters who came in style, traveling in a custom shuttle bus to accommodate the large group of family and friends wearing their Team Molina fight gear. Making the trek were John’s parents John Sr. and Yvonne, his sister Adelina, his wife Neda, several nephews, his cornerman Javier Adame and many more.
“We’re prepared; we’re ready for DeMarco!” the SoCal fighter affirmed. His father and co-manager John Molina Sr. and co-manager Sergio Diaz both agree that Molina will nab the victory on September 8. “It’s gonna be a great fight–an explosive match!” Diaz tells me.
John says training has been great with Joe Goossen “grinding and grinding and grinding” and aiming for the W on Saturday night.
Molina admits that the southpaw DeMarco is his toughest challenge to date. “Absolutely! He’s a world champion–that speaks for itself,” the power puncher says of his Los Mochis foe. “DeMarco has a great will, heart and determination to be a world champion but we’re gonna overcome all those obstacles on September 8–and I feel very comfortable that we will do so!”
The popular pugilist will also be a big draw in Oakland. “We’ve got about 1,000 people coming up to see the fight,” Molina shares. “I’ve been blessed to have such great fan support. And the ones that can’t make it up will watch it on HBO. I’m lucky to have such great support and my fans like the fact that I can knock people out.”
And he’s got even more incentive to win. Johnny and his wife Neda are expecting their very first child due in November.
His pretty wife is also confident of a victory. “Of course he’s gonna win!” Neda laughs when I ask her for a prediction. “He can’t put me through all this stress and not win.”
It’s been a busy time for Team Molina but everything’s falling into place as the summer comes to a close.
On August 26, Molina Jr. threw out the first pitch at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ game, rubbing elbows with baseball star Matt Kemp and comedian George Lopez. I asked if he took a break yesterday for the Labor Day holiday. Nope, business as usual as “duty calls” he says. It was back to the gym to keep “grinding” toward this all-important W.
The timing of the bout is perfect says the young couple. “Raenah Faye is due on November 15,” a smiling Neda says. “And both of our birthdays are in December.”
So a September win will be icing on the cake.
“We’ve been blessed with how my career is taking off,” the appreciative boxer says, before we sign off. “I’ve got so much to look forward to–especially my beautiful baby girl due in November.”
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.