LAS VEGAS – For nine plus rounds, Mickey Bey was putting together a signature performance in his ShoBox: The New Generation main event against John Molina at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Bey constantly beat Molina to the punch, utilizing his superior hand speed and footwork to build a wide lead on all three judges’ scorecards. What makes boxing beautiful in comparison to other sports is that the scoreboard doesn’t matter until it reads zero.
Molina was the latest example of this, as he stopped Bey on his feet at the 2:01 mark of the 10th and final round after being outclassed for most of the contest.
Despite Bey being superior for much of the fight, Molina never stopped coming forward. With his left eye badly swollen in the early rounds after eating numerous jabs from Bey, he began to have a hard time seeing the check hooks coming.
“I feel very fortunate to walk away with the win, because Mickey had it in the bag for nine and a half rounds, or so he thought,” said trainer Joe Goossen, who was working with Molina for the third time heading into the fight.
Molina and Goossen aren’t strangers to the come-from-behind victory. Molina stopped a then-unbeaten Hank Lundy in the 11th round three years ago. This time, he was handing the Floyd Mayweather-promoted Bey his first defeat.
“I hurt him early with a left hook to the body,” said an ecstatic Molina after the fight. “He can say what he wants, but he was definitely hurt. I was definitely behind on the scorecards and I knew if the fight went the distance it wasn’t going to be to my advantage.”
Bey showed tremendous skills in utilizing the ring, only having difficulty when he would stop on the ropes and allow Molina to land the odd overhand right. Molina landed a big shot here and there, but it usually came at the end of the round.
That wasn’t the case in the 10th. Early in the round, it seemed it was Molina who was on the way out. Bey hurt him with a combination to the already reddened ribcage of Molina, but for some reason decided to back off.
Perhaps Bey thought Molina was playing possum. Either way, it allowed Molina to sum up the strength to go for it halfway through the round, and a big hook started what ultimately would be the beginning of the end. Bey was more or less out on his feet, tasting a number of flush shots before referee Vic Drakulich had no choice but to stop it.
Bey had a hard time coming to terms with the loss.
“I landed plenty of big punches and the referee didn’t stop it,” said a dejected Bey afterwards. “[The 10th] felt like any other round to me, and I felt fine.”
Bey was ahead 90-80, 89-81, and 88-82 on the scorecards heading into the final round.
“He had a lot of heart,” said Molina in regards to Bey somehow remaining standing after eating the heavy barrage at the end. “He didn’t want to go down, it was his hometown. Floyd Mayweather showed a lot of class and came up to me and said I was a helluva warrior and it was a helluva fight.”
The main event was preempted by a lackluster but dominant ten-round decision victory by Badou Jack over Farrah Ennis in a super middleweight bout.
Ennis presented a lot of defensive moves that made it difficult for Jack to get into a rhythm, but didn’t let his hands go enough to make a case for being in the fight. Jack would land a eye-catching combination every round, and it usually was enough to take it on the cards.
Jack won by scores of 100-90 and 98-92 twice.
Middleweight Chris Pearson stopped Arturo Crespin at 1:18 of the fifth round in their six-round bout.
Super middleweight Luis Arias earned an easy six-round decision win over Latif Mundy by scores of 59-55 thrice.
Super middleweight Ronald Gavril stopped Jas Phipps in the sixth round.
Welterweight Justin DeLoach earned a four-round unanimous decision over Kelvin Medley in a competitive fight. Scores were 40-36 and 39-37 twice.
Cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti made a successful professional debut, stopping Andrew Howk at 42 seconds of the opening round, putting him down with some of the first punches he threw.
Photos / Naoki Fukuda