Michael Rosenthal

Molina outpoints Figueroa on ‘Fight Night Club’ card

LOS ANGELES – Carlos Molina frustrates his handlers.

The Los Angeles-area prospect shows signs of being a beast, as he did on occasion against durable John Figueroa before 2,270 on the Fight Night Club,/i> card Thursday night at Club Nokia, but he also is overly passive for long stretches.

His cornermen and brother Oscar Molina, a top amateur who was standing near the ring, were after him the entire fight to get busier, to take control, to show what he’s capable of.

In the end, Molina (14-0, 7 knockouts) did more than enough to outpoint Figueroa (7-8-3, 3 KOs) but even he wasn’t 100 percent satisfied.

“I think that was it,” said Molina, referring to his occasional passivity. “I tend to load up on my shots. They want me to touch, touch, touch. I do more damage that way. And I feel better.

“It’s all a learning experience.”

Molina had been preparing to fight David Rodela, an aggressive fighter who would’ve been more suited to his counter-punching style. However, Rodela had to pull out after he was in a minor car accident.

Figueroa agreed to fill in on a week’s notice, which presented a problem because he too is a counterpuncher.

Thus, both fighters waited for the other to make the first move most of the fight.

“Carlos is naturally a counter puncher,” said Frank Espinoza Jr., who manages Molina with father Frank Espinoza Sr. “When he fights a guy who boxes him like this, he needs to be more aggressive. That’s just something he needs to work on.”

Still, Molina did damage. He hurt Figueroa several times, each time bringing out a killer instinct that proved he’s capable of effective aggression even if he couldn’t finish the job.

He beat Figueroa more soundly than fellow prospect Luis Ramos, who took many more punches than Molina did in a victory on the September Fight Night Club card. The scores on Thursday were 78-74, 79-73 and 79-72, a one-sided victory.

And he’s young – he turned 25 on fight night — which means he has time to make adjustments.

Frank Espinoza Sr. was pleased overall.

“I still think he needs to take control of his fights,” the elder Espinoza said. “Overall, it was a good performance, though. We’ll take the win and go from here.”

In preliminary fights, Ukrainian Ivan Redkach (5-0, 4 KOs), who lives in L.A., defeated Carlos Hernandez (3-5-2) of San Fernando, Calif., at 1:28 of the third round when the referee stopped the bout because of repeated fouls by Hernandez.

And Fidel Maldonado (6-0, 5 KOs) of Albuquerque, N.M., was taken the distance for the first time but defeated tough Luis Sanchez (0-4) of Mexico by a unanimous decision in a four-round welterweight bout.

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