Robert Frankel thoroughly out-boxed John Molina in every round of their Friday Night Fights main event from Temecula, Calif., on Friday, yet Molina never seemed in danger of losing the junior welterweight 10 rounder.
That’s because whenever the hard-punching lightweight prospect landed his shots (usually left hooks or right crosses in the final seconds of each round), his decided edge in power was clear.
The battered face of Frankel, who was forced to retire on his stool after the fifth round on the advice of the ringside physician, was bloody evidence of Molina’s punching prowess.
Frankel, a gutsy 140-pound veteran from Denver, Colo., used his jab and lateral movement to control the 28-year-old Southern Californian’s forward-marching aggression and set up flush right crosses and uppercuts. However, the few power shots Molina (23-1, 19 knockouts) managed to land in each round did considerable damage.
Frankel (28-11-1, 5 KOs) suffered a cut over his left eye by the end of the first round. His nose bled badly by the end of the second round. He sported a crescent-shaped cut on his right cheek bone by the end of the third. By the end of the fourth round his right eye was beginning to swell shut due to a new cut above it. The cut over his right eye was pounded into a painful-looking “X”-shaped gash by the end of the fifth round.
Blood from Frankel’s nose and facial lacerations spattered over the ring canvas and ESPN2’s ringside commentators Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas.
Referee Ray Corona Jr. did the right thing by calling the ringside physician to take a closer look at the 31-year-old fighter’s gruesome face after the fifth round.
Frankel, who had won seven of eight bouts going into the Molina fight (the loss was a close majority decision to former lightweight belt holder David Diaz in January), wasn’t about to call it quits. The doctor made the right decision for him.
The TKO victory was Molina’s fifth since the only loss of his career, a 10-round decision to Martin Honorio in November of 2009.
In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, junior welterweight standout Mauricio Herrera, of Riverside, Calif., scored his second upset on Friday Night Fights this year by out pointing once-beaten prospect Mike Dallas Jr. via unpopular 10-round majority decision.
Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs), who beat Dallas by scores of 95-95, 96-94 and a ridiculous 98-92, out-pointed previously undefeated prospect Ruslan Provodnikov on FNF in January.
Dallas (17-2-1, 7 KOs), of Bakersfield, Calif., jabbed-and-moved effectively in the early rounds, often pot-shotting with single hooks and crosses on the fly, but he also stood his ground and exchanged punches with Herrera whenever the two engaged in close.
Herrera, who applied steady pressure throughout the bout, got more work done on the inside, especially during the middle rounds, but he was only able to sporadically get in close.