In a tiny gym located alongside a freeway Carlos Molina and his brothers practiced and practiced their craft for years.

Molina no longer trains in that tiny gym deciding to move a few miles south where he’s now guided by famed trainer Clemente Medina in the always crowded Maywood Boxing Gym.

“He works hard,” said Medina who also trains Alfredo “Perro” Angulo among others. “He’s ready.”

Molina (9-0, 5 KOs) anxiously awaits his fight this Friday against Tyler Ziolkowski (12-10, 7 KOs) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The boxing card is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions that will be partly televised on Fox.

The oldest of the three Molina brothers has a lot to prove especially with his younger brothers. You see Javier Molina was a member of the U.S. Olympic Boxing team and Oscar Molina was an alternate on the Mexico Olympic Boxing team. The two twins are very talented, but so is Carlos.

“It feels good,” said Molina about fighting in Las Vegas for the first time. “That’s where all the fights are. Hopefully there will be many more to come.”

Not gifted with great power, but no creampuff, Molina has other gifts such as the ability to fight inside or outside with equal dexterity. He knows and understands the finer points of professional prizefighting. It’s something that most fighters go an entire career without realizing.

Molina treats each fight equally.

“I prepare myself the same for every fight,” says Molina, who moved from the famous Commerce Boxing Gym to the equally famous Maywood Boxing Gym more than a year ago.

It’s not going to be easy. Ziolkowski has boxing skills and has fought better competition despite deriving from Missouri. In his career his losses have come against both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and brother Omar Chavez. But match him equally and he can upset a fighter or two.

Still, many see Molina as a vastly improving prizefighter.

Frank Espinoza, one of the foremost boxing managers in the business, says he sees much improvement in Molina.

“He’s getting better and better,” said Espinoza who also managers Israel Vazquez, Martin Castillo, Luis Ramos and others. “I can see the improvement every time he fights.”

It’s not a surprise that Molina shows talent. The five-square mile area he chose to learn his craft is responsible for a number of elite fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Panchito Bojado, Shawn Estrada, Sergio Mora and numerous others including his own brothers.

Also on the card is prospect Ronny Rios, 20, who fights out of Orange County and managed by Espinoza like Molina.

Rios (8-0, 4 KOs) is a rather tall junior featherweight at 5-7 in height who will steamroll any opponent who displays a serious flaw. He works quickly and aggressively applying pressure while looking for weaknesses in his opponent. So far nobody has given him much trouble.

The Santa Ana-based fighter meets Willshaun Boxley (5-3, 3 KOs) in a six round fight.