Saturday, September 25, 2021

Molina Scores Second Win Over Raygosa, What’s Next?

 There was little build for former IBF Jr. Middleweight world champion Carlos Molina’s bout against veteran Juan Carlos Raygosa on Friday, September 24th in Patzcuaro, Mexico. This was due to Molina facing a fighter with whom he had already scored a ten round unanimous decision over in November of last year, but also perhaps due to Raygosa having a less than stellar record as he entered the bout with a record of 17-17-3, with 6 Knockouts compared to Molina’s 37-12-2, with 12 Knockouts. Although this had all the appearance as this observer said in previewing the bout as a “Stay Busy” bout for Molina as he looked to bounce back from a defeat earlier this year to Middleweight contender Sam Eggington, this fight did have a basic storyline to it.

Despite his experience against at or near top level competition throughout his career as a former world champion, there is always a question of whether or not a fighter can bounce back from a setback regardless of the perceived caliber of the opposition standing across the ring from them. After fifty professional fights in an eighteen year pro career, it is logical to ask how much more a fighter might have left in them in terms of their in ring career. In fairness, Carlos Molina has not shown any signs of a fighter that is in decline though his record is an illustration of someone who has spent quite an amount of time inside the Boxing ring.

While some may not look at a fight such as the one he had against Juan Carlos Raygosa with much regard, the thing that always interests me going into a fight like this even though Raygosa’s record may not appear to offer much in terms of his overall level of competition is, as I said in the prelude to the fight, fighters like Raygosa are often the most active in the sport because of their willingness to go into fights under varying conditions regardless of who the opposition might be. Given that this was Raygosa’s second opportunity to share a ring with Carlos Molina after giving a good effort in defeat in their first encounter, I wondered what type of adjustments he might be able to make this time around.

As the two fighters entered the ring at the Posada Hotel Don Vasco before a limited crowd of spectators due to the ongoing circumstances of the global COVID-19 epidemic, Raygosa did attempt to bring the fight to Molina by showing a willingness to not only stand and trade punches, but also apply pressure on the former world champion. What was noticeable about Raygosa’s approach was he was a bit more aggressive as compared to the first fight where Molina was able to outwork him over the course of ten rounds.

Although Raygosa was the more aggressive of the two fighters throughout this rematch, he was not tactical in his aggression and left opportunities for Molina to counter punch, which he did capitalize on. Molina may not have overwhelmed Raygosa with activity, but he was very compact with his offense in that he would at times land two or three punches in combination and then step back and await his next opportunity in allowing Raygosa to lead throughout.  While not a complicated fight to describe, it was Molina’s taking advantage of opportunities presented to him, compact offense that was often the cleaner of the punches landed between the two fighters, in addition to making his opponent miss that ended up being the story of this fight as Molina was able to box his way to another ten round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Raygosa.

While this fight was frankly simple to describe for the reader, some might choose to be critical in the sense that Molina did not stop Raygosa. This observer will not be one to criticize because fights like this do serve a purpose for a fighter that is looking to get back in the mix and going ten rounds at a consistent pace is likely more beneficial than if he had gone a shorter distance and gotten a quick stoppage or knockout victory.

The question now becomes what will happen next for the former world champion and promoter Carlos Molina as he continues to campaign in the 160lb. Middleweight division.  For now I feel the key is to try and stay as active as possible. This of course is easier said than done due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but there are two things that Molina does have in his favor as he looks to position himself for another opportunity to fight for a world title. One he has a plethora of experience and while he may not be viewed as a marquee name by some, a fighter with the amount of experience that Molina brings to the table is always going to be in the discussion of potential challengers for a world champion even if those who promote said champion are looking to him as a would be “Tune-Up” for a potentially more lucrative fight to come. Second, in addition to his experience, Molina is a former world champion and should have some name recognition clout to be able to get into a position where a world championship fight is at least an option on the table for him. The fact that he did become a world champion should serve as an indicator to any promoter with a top contender or a world champion in their stable to not take him lightly because all a fighter really needs is one impressive victory against a notable opponent to stir buzz.  For now however, Molina needs to stay as active as he can and look to make the best argument possible for an opportunity down the road.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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