To hear Carlos Molina tell it, the his record should be 29-0.
“I feel like I’ve basically won every fight,” said Molina, a 30-year-old winner of the IBF’s junior middleweight belt with last month’s majority decision over Ishe Smith. “Every single one of them I feel like I was in the position where I should have won or it was a close fight. I’ve never been out-fought or out-boxed in any of my fights, you know?”
That’s saying plenty for a man with a record of 22-5-2 and only six knockouts who has persevered over the course of a career that has been characterized by disputed decision losses and setbacks, one of which was a controversial disqualification.
But Molina’s fortunes appear to have changed with September’s effort against Smith, whom he dethroned on the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view undercard.
“I’m not happy with just having the title, I want to defend it successfully, and get all of the title belts,” Molina said, who employs a rugged grind-it-out style. “That’s my goal right now, to get all of the belts. Fighting somebody like Canelo would help me to do that. But I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I hadn’t been where I’ve been, experienced what I’ve experienced and been fortunate to have fought who I’ve fought.
“I don’t like to think about the past or anything, usually, because I feel like that made me the fighter that I am today, and that it put me in the situation I’m in today. For sure, I feel like everybody that I’ve fought, and every fight that I’ve been in, I’ve been in the position to win and I was winning the fight and that I should have won the fight, that just the way that it is.”
Also mentioned as a potential January opponent for Molina is hard-hitting Mexican Alfredo Angulo.
“I’m up for Angulo, or whoever the best fight possible (opponent) is. I want Mayweather, but, you know, I want whoever I have to get to get to that fight. The belt, I’m hoping that it will open more doors for me. I feel like the only reason I have a fight is because I have a belt,” said Molina.
“If I didn’t have the belt, I’d still be in the same situation, not getting fights. I’ve been told that they’re trying to make Cotto, and if they’re not able to do Canelo versus Cotto or Martinez, then I could get Canelo. We’ll see what happens. I’m ready for whatever.”
A Mexico-born Chicago resident who is promoted by Leon Margules, of Warriors Boxing, and managed by Luis DeCubas Sr., Molina has won three straight since falling by controversial 10th-round disqualification loss to James Kirkland in March of last year, having rebounded with decisions over Damian Frias and ex-beltholder Cory Spinks in August of last year and February, respectively.
Molina has endured a draw as well as a six-round majority decision loss against current WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in December of 2005 and 2006, respectively, and took an unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with just two stoppages into the fight with Kirkland.
During his streak, Molina also beat welterweight fringe contender Ed Paredes by unanimous decision in April of 2009. Paredes has gone 13-0-1 with nine knockouts since falling to Molina.
Molina’s last loss prior to Kirkland was by eight-round majority decision against junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado in February of 2007.
Two other setbacks were against then-unbeaten fighters Jonathan Ochoa and Wayland Willingham in September of 2004 and December of 2006, respectively. Ochoa and Willingham never fought again after being knocked out in their only career losses.
“When I say, ‘I feel like I can beat Sergio Martinez, Canelo and Cotto,’ people are like, ‘What do you mean, man?’ So in my mind, I still have a lot to prove, and I’m not satisfied. I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied. I’m hungrier more now than ever than before, because, now, it’s like, ‘Carlos won the title, but he only beat Ishe Smith.’ You hear all of that stuff,” said Molina.
“Like, ‘He’s going to wind up losing pretty soon and giving the title up to Canelo, or whoever he fights next.’ But I’m the only one who sees it differently, and it’s always been that way. I want more. I just want to prove everybody wrong, like I have from the beginning. It doesn’t bother me that they’re saying what they’re saying, because everybody has their opinion and that’s cool. But that’s what keeps me focused and hungrier to keep going, because I know I’m not done yet.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org