A new, meaner “King” Carlos Molina is ready to go for his ESPN Friday Night Fights main event at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on February 1.
29-year-old Molina (20-5-2, 6 KOs) will face two-division and five-time world champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks in a 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator to headline the night of boxing presented by 8 Count Productions, Round 3 Productions, Warriors Boxing and Blue Wave Boxing in association with Don King Productions.
The intriguing co-main event that night is a 10-round welterweight battle between two-time former world champion Jose Luis “El Temible” Castillo (64-11-1, 55 KOs) and Florida’s Antwone “The Truth” Smith (22-4-1, 12 KOs).
Molina, who divides his time training at Chicago’s 8Count and LA Boxing gyms with trainer Victor Mateo (original trainer Lou Askenette also works the corner on fight night), says he’ll be going into this important fight with a new mindset and outlook.
“They say I don’t have much power, but I’m really working on sitting down on my punches for this fight, especially when he’s on the ropes,” admitted Molina. “I want the knockout. That’s what we’re going for. I’ll make him miss and put constant pressure on him. And as soon as he misses, I’ll make him pay. I’m going to break him down and get him out of there.”
Molina, an underdog in nearly every fight, is switching roles for this one. Fighting at home and sure to be favored by the oddsmakers, he’s in the exact opposite role this time.
“You just have to look at things a different way. Being the underdog motivates you. When everybody thinks you’ll lose, you train hard and fight hard to prove them wrong. Now I’m the favorite fighting in my hometown. I’ll use that as a motivation. I haven’t fought here in over four years. It motivates me to look good and fight better than I ever have.”
Molina says he’s waited a long time for this opportunity and it means the world to him to fight for a world title.
“That’s my goal since I started boxing. I picture in my head winning a world title. Not just one. Maybe a couple straps. And this is the first step to reaching my goal. I set my goals high and that’s definitely what I want. Not even just for me. For everybody that has helped me. I can’t go out and say I did it all myself. I have had a tough road; my trainers have always been with me. It’s tough being a trainer you have to be just as dedicated as a fighter. I want to see the smile on my trainer’s face and my mom and dad’s, my family and everybody that has supported me. I won’t forget who helped me when I win.”
Presented by 8 Count Productions, Round 3 Productions, Warriors Boxing and Blue Wave Boxing in association with Don King Productions, advance tickets are priced are $151, $101, $51 and $31 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000), the 8 Count Productions Offices, 312-226-5800 or the UIC Pavilion Box Office, 312-413-5740.
In a special attraction eight round clash, fast rising Polish heavyweight prospect Artur “The Pin” Szpilka will battle Chicago-based heavyweight contender “Merciless” Mike Mollo.
Additionally featuring in separate bouts will be local favorites; middleweight contender Donovan “Da Bomb” George, 23-3-1 (20 KOs), highly regarded and undefeated super middleweight prospect Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez, 8-0-0 (5 KOs) and popular welterweight newcomer Jimmy Murphy, 1-0-0 (1 KO).
Further details on this world-class evening of professional boxing will be announced shortly.
The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine, at the corner of Harrison and Racine on the campus of University of Illinois-Chicago. Doors on the night of the event will open at 7 pm with the first bell at 7:45 pm.