Carlos Molina wants to give Amir Khan a rather rude Los Angeles welcome when they fight at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena on Saturday, something similar to the way the a member of the notorious 18th Street Gang might treat a guy wearing Insane Clown Posse face paint if he caught the “Juggalo” strutting around the Rampart area of the city.
OK, the unbeaten 27-year-old native of Commerce, Calif., won’t be that harsh with Khan, but he does plan on kicking the British star’s butt during their Showtime-televised junior welterweight fight.
“This is going to be my night; we’re in my town. This is my hood,” Molina (17-0-1, 7 knockouts) said at the final press conference for the Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“I’m going to make this a street fight. He can’t come into my hood and beat me.”
Molina will need that gangster attitude against the heavily favored Khan, even though the 24-year-old speed merchant from Bolton, England, was knocked out by Danny Garcia in his last fight in June, after dropping a controversial decision to Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan (26-3, 18 KOs), who held two 140-pound titles before his back-to-back losses, has seen better days but 2004 Olympic silver medalist is still considered a world-class junior welterweight due to high-profile victories over top contenders, such as Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi and Andreas Kotelnik.
Molina, a former national amateur champ who comes from a boxing family, is considered a prospect. He’s never faced a fringe contender, let alone a top-10 rated former titleholder like Khan.
However, the 26-year-old British star says he’s taking Molina as seriously as the reigning beltholders he faced during his 2½-year title run – perhaps more so.
“I see myself as the underdog in a way, because of my last fight,” Khan said at Wednesday’s presser. “So I trained twice as hard. It’s always a tougher challenge fighting an opponent in his hometown because they fight that much harder, as Lamont Peterson did when I fought him (in Washington, D.C.). I welcome that because it means I have to work that bit harder.”
Khan, who was trained by Freddie Roach during his title run, switched to Virgil Hunter prior to the Molina fight being made. He says training with Hunter and his camp at the 2011 Trainer of the Year’s gym in Oakland, Calif., will result in a much improved fighter – one the world will see on Saturday.
“I admit that, being a young fighter, I do make a lot of mistakes,” he said. “I go in there and fight and not think, but I’ve been working on correcting my mistakes and thinking more in the ring with Virgil. I’ve been lucky to spar with his fighters in this camp, and they’ve given me great work.”
Khan said he sparred with former 154-pound contender Alfredo Angulo, who fights on Saturday’s undercard, as well as 140-pound prospects Karim Mayfield and Mike Dallas Jr. in preparation for Molina.
“You’ll see a new style and a smarter fighter on Saturday,” he said.
THE BRONZE BOMBER
Those who fear that Khan’s “smarter” style will result in less action will be pleased to know that undefeated heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder, who has won all 25 of his pro bouts by knockout, doesn’t plan on changing the way he fights against unbeaten Kelvin Price, who he faces in the co-feature to Khan-Molina.
Wilder, who generally comes out swinging in the ring, came out singing when it was his turn at the podium at Wednesday’s presser. Clearly, the athletic boxer-puncher is excited about his Showtime debut.
“I’m gonna whup somebody, oh I’m gonna whup somebody,” the 27-year-old Olympic bronze medalist sang with his Alabama-bred twang before turning his attention to his opponent, a shy-by-comparison 37-year-old boxer from Florida.
Price (13-0, 6 KOs) isn’t as active as Wilder (who will be in his sixth fight this year) and obviously doesn’t have 2008 U.S. Olympian’s power, but he’s just as tall (6-foot-7) and he owns a six-round decision victory over then-undefeated prospect Tor Hammer in 2010.
Wilder has been criticized for facing mostly weak opposition and few (if any) capable heavyweights, such as Price and Hammer. Wilder says he’ll prove his class against Price.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Wilder, “and I can’t see me losing. Somebody’s ‘O’ has to go and it won’t be mine ‘cause I hate to lose. Some people say I haven’t fought anybody but they were 25 heavyweight human beings and they all got knocked out. I don’t care what their records were.
“I knock people out. That’s what I do. I mean business. I’m here to destroy you.”
THE DOG VS. THE PANTHER
Most fans are expecting come-backing former junior middleweight contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo to destroy his young and unheralded opponent, Jorge “Pantera” Silva, in the opening bout of Showtime’s broadcast, but the 20-year-old Tijuana native plans to shock the boxing world.
“The few who know me know that I give my all in the ring,” said Silva, who is coming off a rousing 10-round majority draw to undefeated (21-0) Japanese welterweight standout Yoshihiro Kamegai in October.
“I put my life on the line when I fight, so don’t miss this one. It’s going to be the fight of the night. I guarantee it. You’re going to see the real ‘Perro’ Angulo and you’re going to see a new Mexican star.”
Fans who watched Angulo ice Raul Casarez with one left hook 56 second into their bout last month are certain the 30-year-old veteran will silence Silva, a natural welterweight who could probably make junior welterweight if he tried.
However, Silva, who is promoted by Erik Morales and managed by the Mexican legend’s younger brothers, has not been babied during his 4½-year career. Silva (19-2-2, 15 KOs) is a fearless and talented prospect who has been in with better fighters than Casarez and probably has a better chin than “El Tigre.” The young man has a pretty good punch, too.
Angulo (21-2, 18 KOs), who was held for eight months in a federal immigration detainment center this year and hasn’t been hit squarely since his brutal TKO loss to James Kirkland last November, could be in for a tough fight. The veteran says he’s prepared for that.
“I’m ready because I know that Silva is young and confident,” he said. “The word is that he’s trained hard for this fight, and so have I. It will be a good fight.”
BOXING BONANZA AT THE SPORTS ARENA
Golden Boy Promotions has a lot going on this Saturday. The day begins with the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation Charity Toy Giveaway at 10:00 a.m. at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.
The arena doors open at 12:30 p.m. for the afternoon boxing card headlined by unbeaten bantamweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz’s CBS-televised IBF title defense against undefeated Alberto Guevara. The broadcast portion of the card begins at 1:30 p.m. PT and includes the pro debut of 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz.
Following the 90-minute broadcast on CBS, its first boxing event since Bernard Hopkins knocked out Glen Johnson in the 11thround in 1997, there will be a Holiday Fanfest on the arena grounds that includes world-class fighters signing autographs, food and toy giveaways.
Then, doors open for the Showtime card at 4:00 p.m. There will be a 10-round Showtime-Extreme televised fight between undefeated welterweight prospect Shawn Porter former two-time lightweight titleholder Julio Diaz at 6:00 p.m., which leads into the Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader.
Admission to the afternoon boxing show (CBS broadcast) that starts with non-televised preliminary bouts at 1:00 p.m. PT is free as part of the Golden Boy Promotions Holiday Fanfest. Tickets can be acquired at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena box office.
Tickets for the evening boxing session (Showtime fight card) that begins at 4:00 p.m. PT are priced at $150, $100, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, and are on sale at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Fans who present ticket stubs from the CBS event when purchasing tickets for the Showtime event will receive a 20-percent discount. There is a limit of one discounted purchased ticket per ticket redeemed while supplies last.
Photos / Esther Lin-SHOWTIME