Wednesday, February 08, 2023  |



John Molina looks to stay in 140-pound mix vs. Humberto Soto


If there is an off button on John Molina, it may be difficult for people to find it.

When Molina is on, he is a very difficult opponent to defeat. Just ask Lucas Matthysse, who was on the canvas twice before he was able to stop Molina in June at Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif.

Molina lives and dies by that all-out aggressive style, giving fight fans many thrills and excitement. While he admits it may not always work, it could be a windfall as to whom he may face down the road.

Tonight Molina will fight Humberto Soto in a 10-round junior welterweight bout on the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. The bout will be broadcast live as part of the Showtime preview show at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT.

Since making his professional debut in March of 2006, Molina has built a reputation as a devastating puncher. Whether it be a left hook or a right uppercut, Molina has always been one punch away from ending a fight or turning around a fight in dramatic fashion if he is down on the scorecards.

Take for instance the Hank Lundy and Mickey Bey fights. Molina was getting outboxed during most of the action before changing matters towards the end of the fight, scoring dramatic knockout wins when he was down on the scorecards.

“As you saw in my Lundy or Mickey Bey fights, sooner or later I’m going to get you,” Molina told “And that’s the way I fight. Whether you’re ahead on the scorecards or behind on the scorecards, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to be in the fight from round one to round done.”

He will face a veteran boxer-puncher in Soto. Not to be outdone, Soto has also been involved in some dramatic fights in recent years, notably his hard-fought 12 round unanimous decision over Urbano Antillon in December of 2010.

Soto is a seasoned fighter who can also rely on his boxing pedigree rather his power. It could be a dangerous fight for Molina, as Soto has likely seen every style in the book.

But Molina is eager to the challenge. Despite the loss in his last fight to Matthysse in April, Molina is riding the wave of momentum in recent fights.

“Every fight means the world to me,” said Molina, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina. “You can never take lightly a Humberto Soto now or Humberto Soto from 10 years ago. He’s a hell of a fighter. He’s a veteran and a three-time world champion. He’s fought the best, (whether he has) beaten and lost to the best. You can’t say anything bad about the guy. The fact is that it’s my time to finally get where I’m at in the game and it just so happens he’s the opponent that we have to go through. He’s just like any other man. I’m excited to fight someone like Humberto Soto. I’m excited to go out there and showcase what I do best.”

Molina, who had a very limited amateur background, has had an interesting road in getting to where he is at in fighting some of the best fighters at 140 pounds.

He has had disappointing setbacks in losses to Martin Honorio and Antonio DeMarco. Regardless of those losses, Molina has built quite a significant fan base or following for his aggressive style.

He has put in his dues of sorts and counts on his experience of fighting on club shows to put in perspective how the fight game can benefit fighters through the hard work and success one achieves.

“I’m just glad to be at this level,” he said. “I remember when I was selling tickets to my (earlier) fights at the Quiet Cannon (in Montebello, Calif.) or the Maywood (Calif.) Activities Center. When you come from that level, you respect this level a lot more. You never want it to go away.

“To get paid like a professional athlete and to get the accolades of the people enjoying you and recognizing you because of what you’ve done in the ring, that’s beyond measure. So we’re going to continue to go out there and take every fight as serious as possible. Whether it’s Humberto Soto or whether it’s Joe Blow from off in left field somewhere. You got to go out there and give the best performance you can give. I will definitely give the fans 100 percent every time I get in the ring.”

A victory over Soto could bring about more lucrative fights for Molina. With the style Molina brings, there are a number of possible showdowns with fellow 140-pound fighters.

While there are a few fighters who may avoid fighting Molina because of his devastating power, he believes that sooner or later they have to get in the ring with him. And when that time comes again to fight, Molina will be more than ready to not only give his best effort for fight fans, but to building upon his success.

“Of course I see some guys side-stepping me,” he said, “but the more notable my name gets, the more accolades that I gain, it’s becoming harder and harder for these guys to avoid me. Eventually, we’re going to get it on and eventually the fans are going to get the treat.

“I just like where I’m at now.”




Francisco A. Salazar has written for since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper,, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing