SAN DIEGO, April 26, 2014 – What is it about the StubHub Center in Carson, California? It hosted Rios-Alvarado I, Fight of the Year candidate in 2012. It also hosted Bradley-Provodnikov, Fight of the Year in 2013. Saturday night it hosted the first Fight of the Year candidate for 2014. (Take note also that Pat Russell was the referee in all three fights. Coincidence? We think not).
Lucas Matthyssee and John Molina brought fans to their feet in Carson once again with an action-packed brawl, with both fighters going down on the canvas before Matthysse put an end to it at 22 seconds of the 11th round. Molina was down at the end of the 10th round, and it might have been a better decision for trainer John Goossen to prevent Molina from going out for the 11th and final round.
Molina told Showtime’s Jim Gray after the fight he was disappointed. “I wanted it to continue. The judges and the ref (Pat Russell) have their job to do, I respect that … He has a big heart, I give him all the credit tin the world … I feel like I’m here to stay, it was the Fight of the Year, I think we should do it again.”
Californian Molina proved himself a tough customer, withstanding a tremendous amount of punishment from the hard-hitting Argentinean. Molina (27-4-0, 22 KOs). hurt Matthysse as badly as anyone, even more than Danny Garcia who defeated Matthyssee (35-3-0, 33 KOs).
Matthyssee took his share of hard shots from Molina, being knocked down twice in the fight, although one was due to a punch to the back of the head that referee Pat Russell wasn’t able to see.
But it was a moot point, this fight was never going to the scorecards. Matthyssee and Molina put on an incredible show for the fans, who cheered their appreciation through every round. It was exactly the sort of career revival Matthysse needed.
“It was really a war, it got very complicated for me at the beginning of the fight. But I trained hard and you see what happened.” Matthysse also wants a rematch of his own, with titleholder Danny Garcia who defeated him last year. Either way, fans are good.
Welterweight Keith Thurman (23-0, 20 KOs) put on a show in the few rounds he had in the ring with Julio Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KOs), but it ended prematurely, a disappointment for fans. The Mexican fighter’s corner stopped the fight after the third round due to a rib injury suffered by Diaz from a body shot by his corner. Diaz admitted after the fight he was having trouble breathing, although he said he was OK.
Thurman was dealing out punishment at will, although Diaz was making things happen. He wasn’t about to make it easy for Thurman, but the decision by trainer Joel Diaz and referee Jack Reiss was the right one.
Thurman said in his Showtime post-fight interview, “I felt the body shot, I thought he was going to go down. I was wondering, ‘did you land clean enough?’ He’s a tough dog, he was here to fight.”
Thurman must now be considered an eventual opponent for the man at the top of the Showtime welterweight food chain, Floyd Mayweather. Thurman said he would be happy to to take on Floyd or anyone else in the division. The more likely contest is against Shawn Porter, who wiped the floor with Paulie Maignaggi last weekend. “Shawn Porter is a terrific fighter, a friend of mine, a devastating boxer puncher … Whenever they’re ready, I’m ready.”
Texas lightweights Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) and Jerry Belmontes (19-4, 5 KOs) met five times in their amateur days. Figueroa was expected to have the edge over Belmontes, but Belmontes acquitted himself well, getting into Figueroa’s head. It was a close fight that could have gone either way, but Figueroa pulled out the split decision victory. Two cards were close, but Dave Mendoza had it 118-110 for Figueroa, which wasn’t a fight anyone else saw.
Earlier in the day, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3, 52 KOs) won the 25th defense of his title with a fifth round TKO against Alex Leipai (30-5-3, 24 KOs) in front of his adoring German fans. The most exciting part of the fight was the theatrical European introductions and ring walks. After that it was all downhill. Leipai was simply too slow and not able to defend himself.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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