Domonique Dolton was so fixated on his professional debut against Derick Minton in April 2008 that he schlepped right past his tearful mother.
“My mother was standing right there when I walked in, but I couldn’t chance looking at her,” Dolton says of his ring walk that preceded a second-round stoppage of Minton at Bert's Warehouse Theatre in his native Detroit. “I knew she was nervous, but I explained to her later on that I had to focus on my job and couldn’t pay attention to her, the fans or anything else.”
Domonique Dolton vows to be just as “zoned in” Tuesday when he seeks revenge against 154-pound rival Oscar Molina at the Palms Casino Resort in what will be the Las Vegas debut for both fighters. Dolton (17-0, 9 KOs) and Molina (13-0, 10 KOs) squared off years ago as amateurs, with the latter coming away victorious.
“We fought under Olympic scoring to an 8-8 tie, but he won on a tiebreaker,” recalls Dolton, who checked in at 153.6 pounds at Monday's weigh-in, slightly more than Molina (153). “Me and Oscar Molina are no strangers to each other, but I'm focused like I've been since my first fight. I’m going in there to show him there’s a big difference between the amateurs and the pros.”
A 2012 Mexican Olympian who, like Dolton, is 25, Molina will be fighting a little more than a four-hour drive from his hometown of Norwalk, California.
“This is essentially Oscar Molina’s backyard. There may be more people rooting for him than for Domonique,” says Javan “Sugar” Hill, Dolton’s trainer. “But Domonique's been around big-time boxers like Wladimir Klitschko, Adonis Stevenson and Miguel Cotto. Fighting in Vegas should be nothing new to him and won't be a problem.”
Indeed, Dolton has sparred with Stevenson, a 175-pound champion also handled by Hill, as well as Cotto, a current 160-pound titleholder who once competed at 154.
Dolton has also competed before large, frenetic crowds in Germany, scoring a pair of third-round stoppages on separate Klitschko undercards. Dolton first supported Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfelen, in May 2010 against Omar Siala, and again four months later in Frankfurt opposite Norbert Szekeres.
“There were 62,000 fans for Wladimir Klitschko in the Germany fights. Everybody was screaming and going crazy. But I was in my zone, focusing on my trainer and my corner,” Dolton says. “I’ve been to Vegas and watched fights in that atmosphere, and you can’t worry about that. I’m not concerned about who’s coming to see me or about being on TV. I got that tunnel vision. I’ll be zoned in on Molina.”
Which is something his mother has come to expect.
“I didn’t know he was meditating so that he could concentrate without being distracted, but he expressed that to me,” Lorien Williams says of her son’s pro debut. “I used to be nervous and excited at the same time, but I’ve gotten used to seeing him fight. I started to ease up right around his sixth professional fight. I don’t want to be his distraction.”
The one person ringside who will have Dolton’s undivided attention Tuesday will be Hill.
The boxer and trainer were apart for more than three years, having separated following Dolton’s eight-round unanimous decision over Marcos Primera in January 2011. They reunited prior to February’s six-round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Rojas.
Dolton won five fights, two by knockout, during his split from Hill—the nephew of the late legendary trainer Emanuel Steward—and is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of Victor Fonseca in his most recent contest in June.
“Before our separation, we were on the same page and moving at a faster pace with Emanuel,” said Hill, who co-trained Dolton with Steward. “I’m trying to get Domonique back to where he used to be, which is why I felt like it’s time to take this fight with Molina.
“Our first fight back together [against Rojas] was OK, and the second [versus Fonseca] was a knockout. Oscar Molina’s a test for Domonique to show that he has the skills to beat anybody in the [154-pound] division.”
Dolton agrees with his trainer’s assertion that Molina won’t be a pushover. At the same time, he insists Molina will be seeing a much different fighter than when they last met as teenagers.
“Molina might be my most difficult opponent on paper, but I don’t know if he’ll turn out to be the toughest when I get into the ring with him,” he says. “I’m definitely going to be the toughest opponent that he’s fought, to date, though.
“Of the fights that I’ve seen, he’s faced nobody as fast as I am. My jab is my best punch, so I'll establish that, bring pressure to him, force him to fight at a faster pace and come out victorious.”
For complete coverage of Dolton vs Molina, be sure to check out our fight page before and after the bout.