Junior welterweights Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. were delineated the task with kicking off the first bout of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions for the return of boxing to prime time for the first time in three decades.
While the matchup seemed phenomenal on paper, it turned out to be quite the oppugnant type of fight.
Broner stayed away from John Molina Jr. for majority of the evening, as the 32-year-old Molina, who is known for turning the tables with one punch, was unable to pull the trigger. By keeping the distance, Molina’s two-inch reach advantage was practically nugatory.
Broner picked up the unanimous decision victory at the MGM Grand on the undercard of Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero for the WBA welterweight title. According to CompuBox statistics, the punch stats revealed an even more lopsided affair. Broner landed 219 of 502 punches (44 percent), and Molina was aestivating, connecting on 54 of 249 (22 percent).
Why was John Molina Jr. so dreadful on 7 March? He blamed referee Robert Byrd and Adrien Broner.
“I was warned 15 times that I would get disqualified if I kept going forward on him,” said a petulant Molina. “Broner did what he had to do, but he ran the whole time. He didn’t fight me. He said he was going to fight me; he didn’t fight me, but with that being said, we’re going on to the next. 15 times I got warned by Byrd that I was going to get disqualified if I kept going forward. He said I was leading with my head. There’s no such thing as leading with your head in boxing.”
There is no denying that Robert Byrd warned John Molina Jr. plenty that night, but that’s no excuse for being as quiescent as he was during the fight. Broner threw 253 more punches than Molina, which is not far from the amount he connected with. In addition, we have seen plenty of boxers lead with their head before.
For example, Bernard Hopkins and Timothy Bradley have exhibited such strategies. When Bradley fought Devon Alexander in 2009, a reason for that fight ending in a technical decision was because Bradley was leading with his head, and Alexander kept coming forward. Multiple times in the fight, those styles collided, literally.
John Molina Jr. was disappointed that he couldn’t put on a better show for the fans.
“It’s very disappointing. We wanted to give the fans a good fight, but we couldn’t fight. We couldn’t throw our punches. I couldn’t throw punches. I was getting warned back and forth by the ref, but like I said, it is what it is, and we’re on to the next.”
Once again, John Molina has no excuse. You simply can’t blame the referee for not throwing shots. If Byrd clasped his hand and impeded his physical movement, then yes, but then we wouldn’t be watching a boxing match, would we? He was out-smarted and couldn’t pull the trigger, period.
In spite of that, John Molina Jr. was very impressed with the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC and the experience it has given compared to other promotions.
“It’s phenomenal. It’s going to blow boxing out of the water. I like the way it looks. The fans are very receptive towards it, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” he added.
Despite taking a wide loss, Molina wants to return to the ring this year, preferably against an opponent who is offensive-minded as he is.
“I want to get in there in July or August,” said Molina. “I want to give the world a dog fight; a fight that we know what I excel in. I want to fight someone who is going to sit there and fight me.”
While Fernando Pimental of Tha Boxing Voice brought up Josesito Lopez as a potential opponent for John Molina, but the former WBO NABO Lightweight champion, wants to keep an open field.
“Any fight at 140 or 147,” said Molina. “Josesito is a hell of a fighter; great fighter, and anybody at 140 for sure. 147 is in our near future as well.”
For the fans that were displeased with John Molina Jr.’s performance, he offered an apology.
“I apologize for not being able to make it more of a dogfight, but my hands were tied in there. The next fight will be a dog fight. I want to show the world a fight of the year every time I fight; that wasn’t it. Stylistically, I felt like I couldn’t do my job in there with the way Broner was fighting, and the way the referee was telling me every time he was going to disqualify me every time I tried to engage.”
Well, it was more of a half-apology. While admitting that Adrien Broner’s style was part of the reason for his poor performance, he still couldn’t hold back his rancor for the referee. Hopefully, John Molina Jr. can put on a better performance for the fans when he returns to the ring.