Omar Figueroa Jr. outhustles John Molina Jr. in slugfest to remain undefeated
LOS ANGELES — John Molina Sr. vowed his son would make Omar Figueroa Jr. pay for what he viewed as disrespect after the contract weight was changed Friday morning to 146 pounds.
Figueroa (28-0-1, 19 knockouts) didn’t appear to be in tip-top shape — he sported a flabby midsection — but his fighting spirit remains stronger than ever. He outboxed John Molina Jr. in a war of wills Saturday in the PBC on FOX co-main at Microsoft Theater in an exciting slugfest.
The 29-year-old continually beat Molina to the punch and controlled the action with his superior jab over 10 rounds to win a unanimous decision via scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
“Unfortunately I hurt my hand so I started to slow down a little bit after the third round,” Figueroa said. “I know I could have hurt him if I really pressed the action, but I didn’t want to make the hand any worse.
“I thought I won comfortably and aside from some middle rounds I felt like I was in control. He caught me with a wake up punch in the third round. I wanted to test his power because I had heard so much about it. He’s definitely strong and durable and when I hit him with hard shots, he withstood them.”
Figueroa outlanded Molina 241-159, per CompuBox, and was the cleaner puncher throughout the bout, which was waged mostly on the inside.
The welterweight bout featured plenty of sloppy shots from both fighter and despite some power shots that met their mark, neither man was ever in serious trouble.
“I know what it takes to be able to fight in a weight-based sport and work toward a certain goal,” said Molina (30-8, 24 KOs), who received financial compensation for the last-minute weight change. “I don’t want to say that the weight change is an excuse, but I didn’t even have 24 hours to adjust.
“I take my hat off to him. He is a former world champion. I have been in there with a bunch of guys and he has a decent punch.”
The fight was originally announced as a junior welterweight bout, but Molina Sr. said the contract weight was shifted around 7 a.m. PT on Friday, just hours before the weigh-in, when Figueroa realized he wasn’t on weight. The trainer said his son weighed under 140 pounds and put in the work to be on target.
The Texan targeted Molina’s midsection with a body barrage that seemed to sap the veteran of his energy as the fight wore on. At 36, Molina is past his best days but still possesses enough to compete on the world-class level. He pressed on and blasted Figueroa with a tremendous overhand right in Round 5, but the southpaw absorbed the shot and laughed.
Once he realized he could take his foe’s best punch, he seemed to gain more confidence. He connected on a powerful right hook early in Round 6 and landed with jabs at will, sometimes three and four at a time.
This was less a boxing match and more a fight, which suited both men well. But when he needed it, Figueroa’s jab was the difference.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger