While John Molina Jr. has predicted a stoppage victory against Adrien Broner in their junior welterweight clash on 7 March at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Broner will be out to inveigle the boxing world that Molina is no threat and that the former three-division world champion is mature and mentally prepared for another world title opportunity.
Broner-Molina is part of the debut of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions on NBC, which is part of a multi-year deal to bring quality fights on cable television.
Broner (29-1, 22 KO’s) won a unanimous decision over Emmanuel Taylor in September, his second consecutive victory following his loss to Marcos Maidana in Dec. 2013 and his subsequent drop to 140 lbs.
The 32-year old Molina (27-5, 22 KOs) has not won a fight in nearly two years, losing a decision to former lightweight champion Humberto Soto in September. He was also was knocked out by Lucas Matthysse in the 11th round of a thriller in April, a fight that saw both fighters taste the canvas, but ultimately Matthysse getting the final say.
If Broner wants to win this fight, he needs to put a cap on the goading and focus on boxing. In an interview with FightHype.com, Broner’s trainer Mike Stafford agreed. “He knows he has to box this guy. He can’t literally stand in front of him and trade with him. That’s the main thing. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to be strong,” said Stafford candidly as he spoke about the game plan for their upcoming fight.
This is a precarious fight for Adrien Broner because we have seen this story before. Broner was knocked down twice against Marcos Maidana in his only defeat in Dec. 2013; he was unable to recover. Molina knocked down Matthysse twice in their fight, but ‘La Maquina’ was able to bounce back to knock Molina out. While Stafford agrees that this is a dangerous fight for his fighter, he also adds that every fight is dangerous in its own way.
“Every fight is dangerous. We look back at the Maidana fight; that was a dangerous fight. One punch can change the whole fight, and you just have to be careful. We know this guy is just as good as anybody else with one power punch. We can’t just stand in there and just take a punch,”
In September 2012, Molina fought for the WBC World lightweight title against Antonio DeMarco, a fighter that Broner stopped two months afterward. Molina was stopped in 40 seconds after he was sent reeling by a straight left hand and was trapped in a corner, but did not respond to the blows, inclining referee Jack Reiss to halt the bout. Two months after, Broner stopped DeMarco to take the belt. Many disagreed with the call because DeMarco did not seem like he was in immediate harm. When asked if he threw away DeMarco’s loss due to the quick stoppage, Stafford balked.
“You never can because DeMarco did his homework. That’s what we’re doing; we’re doing our homework. DeMarco’s camp did well, and he caught him. I wouldn’t say he doesn’t have a chin, but I wouldn’t say he has the best of chins,”
Regardless, he believes referee Jack Reiss made the right decision.
“For the occasion, most Mexicans want to fight until the end. That’s what it probably was. The referee did his job.”
The Premier Boxing Champions series has also given Adrien Broner time to mature. Maturity and humility are not words that usually come to mind when we characterize Broner, but with his engagement to his soon-to-be wife and the birth of his new son Adrien. Broner is beginning to learn what it means to not only be a professional inside the ring, but outside the ring as well.
“I think this has given him a new leaf on his career. Knowing that he made a lot of enemies, but he also got a lot of good followers too because a lot of people like that type of stuff. The enemies bashed on him. Then, a lot of people looked at him as the next Muhammad Ali, the top of the line. When he lost they [the enemies] were glad, but they don’t realize Ali lost too and came back. This is a new leaf on life. It is people that don’t know him and didn’t see the internet stuff; they don’t get on the internet. Now, he can reach out to them. He is a likable kid.”
The Premier Boxing Champions series is also an opportunity for people who have never watched boxing before, to get involved and become lifetime fans. When asked what first-time fans should expect from Adrien Broner on 7 March, Stafford said to expect a less supercilious fighter, but still the same fighter with the hunger and determination of winning.
“Very focused, well put together, his body and mind, very serious, no playing around, and straight to the point,” Stafford added. “Back to being AB, about business.