To say that they left nothing in the ring would be to ignore the blood on the canvas.
When John Molina Jr. and Lucas Matthysse met in a meteor shower of fists last April at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, it was akin to watching a couple of glowing embers catalyze a raging forest fire.
The way they want after each other—punch, bleed, repeat; punch, bleed, repeat—seemed almost mechanical in nature, like a couple of machines going at it instead of two flesh-and-bone men.
Matthysse, whose nickname is “The Machine,” by no coincidence, hit the deck twice.
Molina was felled three times.
Both landed the kind of blows capable of causing wounds that can only be closed by doctor-administered staples (Molina got 17 of them in his head afterward).
In the 11th round, everything would come to a fittingly violent conclusion with Matthysse knocking Molina out.
The fight ended there in theory, but not in practice: This was the kind of classic brawl that lives on and on in boxing lore.
Further ensuring that it does just that, the Molina vs. Matthysse clash was recently anointed the 2014 fight of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
“It’s a huge honor,” Molina says of the recognition. “This is what fighting is about: Win, lose or draw, you’ve got to give fans everything in the ring.”
Molina has a made a name for himself by doing as much, his fights consistently action-packed by design.
“People don’t pay their hard-earned money to come watch you maybe get hit, maybe not get hit,” Molina says. “They want a dogfight, and that’s what I prepare to be in: a dogfight. People might say that it’s not the most intelligent thing to do, but it’s the way I know how to fight. It’s what I love to do.”
Molina promises more explosiveness for his March 7 Premier Boxing Champions showdown with Adrien Broner, which will air on NBC at 8:30 p.m ET/5:30 p.m. PT.
“I’m coming forward, looking for the knockout,” he says. “It’s going to be a brutal, old-school, blood-and-guts fight. My history speaks for itself.”
- John Molina Jr