Although the World Boxing Super Series has revitalized boxing's 140-pound division, the sport's 147-pound class has always been one filled with opportunities and glamour fights and John Molina Jr. wants a part of that.
After spending his entire career at lightweight and junior welterweight, Molina is making the jump to welterweight. Molina was supposed to face Victor Ortiz in the main event of the September 30 PBC on FS1 card, but the fight was scrapped on September 26 due to Ortiz being charged with multiple sexual assault charges.
It's those opportunities at potentially fighting for a welterweight title that inspired Molina's move up to 147 pounds. In an exclusive interview with Fightful, Molina said he thought about going up in weight all the way back since last year, specifically during the build up to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight, confirming a story told by Ortiz some weeks back.
Molina further explained that he had told Ortiz back then that he was coming after him in a lighthearted way.
“My thought process behind that, and the story goes that at the press conference, I told him I’m moving up to 147 and that I’m coming after you in a jokingly manner and fast forward to today and here we are and now it’s happening. Obviously he was thinking about it if that was the first thing he remembered. With that being said, going to 147 wasn’t because I couldn’t do 140, but a matter of opportunity. There’s a lot of opportunities for me at 147 and I’m a big 140. I think at 147, I’m going to fit it just well,” Molina said.
Molina stands at 5 feet and 10-and-a-half inches, tall for a junior welterweight, but his height doesn't mean that he will naturally fit right in among the top welterweights. When asked how Molina will adjust to the new weight class, Molina explained that he will have to adjust his training to get used to bigger fighters and work on his strength to be able to succeed at welterweight.
The 35-year-old Molina's response harkened back to a similar chat Fightful had with current WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter some time ago when Porter discussed Danny Garcia's own adjustment going up from 140 to 147 pounds.
“Right in there is the very important question and a lot of fighters make that mistake. I need to prepare my body and get accustomed to being at a higher weight. We are intelligent in our thought process and in the way we train for this new weight class. Yeah, a lot of guys sell themselves short in that regard and sell themselves short at 147 because the guys are much bigger, punches are going to carry around a little differently and I’m going to be carrying around a little more weight. We will be prepared at 147,” Molina said.
Although Molina has challenged for world titles in the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions, the road to a welterweight title shot is tough. With the division stacked with top contenders such as Garcia, Amir Khan, Jessie Vargas, Yordenis Ugas and more, plus Molina turning 36 years old later this year, the window of opportunity may not be open for a very long. Despite this, Molina is not thinking too far ahead into the future.
“I never really think about that perspective. My whole career has always been me treating every fight as important. Every fight is my last fight, literally. If you’re not thinking like that, you’re in the wrong business," Molina said.
The fight was supposed to headline a card that features top prospects such as Joe Joyce and Efe Ajagba. Former super middleweight champion James DeGale previously announced that he would be fighting on that card as well in a tuneup fight before fighting again in December.