CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Feb. 17, 2012) – World Boxing Council No. 10-ranked heavyweight Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (18-1, 14 KOs), from Lyford, Texas, will face the toughest challenge of his young career on Saturday when he tangles with WBC No. 1- ranked heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (33-2, 29 KOs), from Riverside, Calif., at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. (SHOWTIME EXTREME at 8 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.)
Molina grew up just a few hours south of the site of Saturday night’s fight, and he would like nothing more than to score an upset in the this all-Mexican-American heavyweight showdown taking place in his home state. Molina has chosen a surprising name to take over the reins as his head trainer for the biggest match of his life: former WBC heavyweight champion Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall.
“Oliver and I sparred last year in Miami, and he was quick to share his knowledge with me,” Molina said. “Anyone who has met Oliver knows how outgoing he is. He noted what he thought was working for me and what wasn’t as effective.”
McCall said it took him by surprise when Molina asked him to take over as head trainer.
“I happened to be in South Florida last year and both Eric and I had upcoming fights so we sparred,” McCall said of the beginning of their relationship. “I was impressed with his height, size and heart. I sensed he was athletic and had skills. He also had a good right hand.
“Then Eric asked me to come to Texas to spar with him for this fight he has with Arreola. I wasn’t expecting to be asked to train Eric. Once we started talking it just clicked. They saw what I had to teach and they wanted more.
“Out of the blue, they asked me to take over as trainer. Turned out it was his trainer’s idea, too. I was flattered.”
McCall went to work preparing his young charge for the biggest fight of his life.
“I saw some things he needed to hone to become a top contender. It’s one thing to be fighting anyone on an undercard. It’s a whole other deal when you’re fighting the top guys, champions and such. You have to be ready.
“Eric has to jab, move in the early rounds and can’t hesitate to land the right hand, just let it go. If he lands a few good right hands the fight will change. Arreola will become more cautious and that’s where Eric’s opportunity lies.”
Molina sees McCall providing him with continuing education.
“I recently graduated from college and I felt like Oliver was giving me the equivalent of a master’s degree in heavyweight boxing. He was trained by some greats. He’s educating my jab, sharpening my strengths, eliminating bad habits and providing me with the proper strategy.
“His foundation of how to beat Chris Arreola was similar to what I and my team had been thinking, but his insight was much more detailed. He immediately honed in on my athletic ability and broke it down for me like a puzzle. He’s providing me with the tools and knowledge that will give me the best chance of winning on Saturday.”
McCall says he’s reaching back in his life to summon the knowledge of his past trainers.
“I have so much knowledge,” McCall stated emphatically. “I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. I want to be an asset to American heavyweights by sharing what I gained from greats like Richie Giachetti, Georgie Benton, Emanuel Steward and Willie Rush. These are great trainers that shared their wisdom with me. Now I’d like to pass that down. American boxing needs it, especially the heavyweights.”
Molina sees an upset in the making.
“You saw what happened in the past to fighters who underestimated Oliver McCall,” Molina said. “A lot of them ended up on their backs.
“I remind people of that when they say he’s unproven as a trainer. Just watch me on Saturday night. I plan on scoring an Oliver McCall-style upset over Chris Arreola.”
Tickets to see the event live and in person are priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and are available at the American Bank Center box office and on Ticketmaster.com. VIP packages are also available by calling (817) 296-4546.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV