Friday, April 8, 2016

What’s Next For Broner and Molina?

The month of April kicked off with two interesting bouts in Boxing’s Jr. Welterweight and Heavyweight divisions. The first of the two fights took place on April 1st at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. featured former four-division world champion Adrien Broner. The bout, which was for Broner’s WBA Jr. Welterweight world championship had questions as to whether or not it would in fact take place in the days leading up to the fight.

This was due to a warrant being issued for the champion’s arrest for alleged assault and robbery in an incident in January in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH. Despite the pending charges against him, Broner was granted permission to fight and the bout was allowed to proceed as scheduled. As if questions regarding whether the fight would take place were not enough, Broner would lose his world championship on the scale the day before the fight after failing to make the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight weight limit thus creating a situation where the title would only be on the line for Broner’s opponent Ashley Theophane.

Theophane, a former British Jr. Welterweight champion entered into what was his first world championship fight against Broner after competing in forty-six professional fights. Despite the distractions facing the former four-division world champion, failing to make weight, and the subsequent loss of his WBA world championship on the weight scale, Broner was in command from the start. Although Theophane had periodic moments where he appeared to outwork Broner in some rounds, he was unable to land anything to discourage Broner.

As the fight progressed it was clear that Broner was fighter landing the harder punches and in the ninth round Broner closed the show stunning Theophane with an uppercut to the body followed by a right hand forcing a stoppage of the fight. It was a performance where one fighter simply did what he had to do in order to win under circumstances where one might argue the odds of performing well may have been against him. Although Broner promptly called out Floyd Mayweather, who was in attendance for a potential fight following his stoppage win over Theophane, the question now becomes what will happen with regard to Broner’s legal troubles before any talk of potential fights can resume.

The second bout that kicked off the month of April took place on April 2nd at the Tauron Arena in Krakow, Poland. A Heavyweight fight between former two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek and former Heavyweight world title challenger Eric Molina. The fight, which was for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Heavyweight title was also the second fight for Adamek since losing a ten round unanimous decision Artur Szpilka in November 2014. Molina meanwhile came into the fight off of a sixth round stoppage over Rodricka Ray in October of last year.

Molina of course, endeared himself to Boxing fans across the globe in his title shot against WBC world champion Deontay Wilder in June of last year. Although Molina was stopped in nine rounds by Wilder, he more than showed his mettle in defeat and established himself as a contender in the division.

The story going into this fight was whether or not Adamek, who had lost two of his previous three fights, would be able to show that he was still a player in the Heavyweight division. In what was a competitive fight, Molina was able to find frequent success in landing his right hand on Adamek over the course of the bout.

What impressed me about Molina’s performance in this fight was that although Tomasz Adamek was frequently the busier of the two fighters throughout, it was Molina’s solid defense, ability to withstand Adamek’s aggression, and counter punch effectively particularly with his right hand that gradually became the story of the fight in my eyes as it progressed. It seemed as though the majority of Molina’s offensive moments in this fight were highlighted by the right hand.

As the fight progressed, I began to wonder whether or not the difference in the fight would be Adamek’s ability to be aggressive and throw punches in combination, or Molina’s ability to seemingly land the more effective punches if the fight was going to go the distance. Molina would show however, that he had no intention of the bout going to the scorecards.

Molina connected with a sudden and flush right hand to the jaw of the former world champion Adamek in the closing seconds of the tenth round sending Adamek down on his back to the canvas. The always “Game” Adamek attempted to beat the count, but he was unable to do so giving Molina a knockout victory in a fight where he was behind on all three official scorecards.

Following the fight Molina made clear his intention to face the winner of the upcoming IBF Heavyweight world championship fight between undefeated champion Charles Martin and undefeated IBF number four rated contender Anthony Joshua. The story however, that followed this fight was the announcement by Tomasz Adamek that he hanging up his gloves. Adamek has always given it everything he has each time he enters the ring win or lose and after two world championships in two different weight divisions and winning fifty of fifty-five professional fights if this is the end of the road for Adamek as a fighter he has nothing to be ashamed of and has had a fine career.

Whether or not Eric Molina will face the winner of Martin-Joshua remains to be seen. It is clear however, off of what should be viewed as perhaps the most impressive performance of his career, it would not shock this observer to see Molina get another opportunity at a world championship down the line.

Although these two fights were not intertwined with each other, the results of the two bouts have produced some interesting questions as to the futures of both Adrien Broner and Eric Molina. We will simply have to wait and see what happens next for both fighters.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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