One fight gathering steam is former world champion Adrien Broner's clash with Southern California's Carlos Molina.
The two junior welterweights from different parts of the country are coming off losses and looking to claim a spot among the top 140-pounders in the world.
Molina (17-1-1, 7 Kos) has not fought in more than a year and Broner (27-1, 22 Kos) last fight was in December. They meet on Saturday May 3, at the MGMGrand Garden Arena in a 10-round fight for the pure reward of respectability.
"Beating Broner I'm right back there at the top of the mix with the elite fighters. He's a great fighter and everybody knows who he is, so beating AdrienBroner, I'll be right there getting ready for a title fight," said Molina, 28, of Norwalk, Calif.
The last time Molina stepped in between the ropes he was matched against United Kingdom's speedy Amir "King" Khan at the Los Angeles Sports Arena onDecember 2012. Right from the beginning the oldest of the Molina brothers was under water with a bad cut on his eye from Khan's slashing blows. Eventuallythe fight was stopped in the 10th round but Molina was glad he tasted the elite class. It's where he's always wanted to be.
"I was excited man when they said there's a possibility you might fight Broner. Wow, I'm back in the mix with the elite fighters, that's very motivatingfor me," said Molina who is managed by Frank Espinoza.
Broner has world titles in the junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions. That's quite an accomplishment when you meet him in person. He'sa wee guy who uses his boxing skills and quickness appropriately to compensate for his small frame. He's dropping down to junior welterweight a divisionmore suited for him than the welterweights. His loss to Marcos Maidana helped drive him toward the move.
"People want to know if the loss (against Maidana) has humbled me and of course it has. If I would have won that Maidana fight people would be calling mean asshole. People still call me that, but now I thank God that he slowed me down in my tracks even though it is still a heavy and fast train. Right now,Denzel Washington couldn't stop this train," says Broner, 24.
A previous fight against Paul Malignaggi who at the time held the WBA welterweight world title showed that the weight class was a bit much. It alsoprovided a blue print on how to attack the shoulder roll style of defense the Cincinnati fighter employs.
Molina's aggressive Southern California style will be matched against Broner's shoulder roll it should prove engaging.
"I don't think I've fought anyone in the pros that does the shoulder roll. Maybe in the amateurs. I've been sparring with some guys that do the shoulderroll and were getting pretty comfortable with it. It's a matter of just adapting to it, getting used to it I guess," said Molina.
Broner expects Molina to come full force when they meet on Saturday.
"Carlos Molina is a hell of a fighter and he is going to come to fight. He's going to come to kick my ass because I'm sure as hell going to come to kickhis," said Broner.
Molina knows it's a critical fight in his career and one that can open the door to more great fights.
"I've got to be smart. And utilize the same skills that Maidana and Malignaggi, all those guys were doing," Molina said.
Broner and Molina are opposites in many ways, but each need a win to escape a lynch pin to future goals.
"You never know what to expect from an opponent until you hit that ring, but I can tell you that I will be victorious and it will be in a spectacular way"Broner said.
Molina agrees that every fight has its own surprises.
"You always learn from different fights. We did see some weaknesses in Broner and we plan to show that on May 3," Molina said.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV