Steve Kim of MaxBoxing tweets tonight that a decision will soon be made on a Brandon Rios vs John Molina HBO main event from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on March 3.
Rios (29-0-1, 22 KO) is set for the date, which will see him still fight as a lightweight even after missing weight for his December 3 win over John Murray, which resulted in the WBA title being vacated. Molina (23-1, 19 KO) pushed to land that December 3 date with Rios, but ultimately didn't get the fight.
The 29-year-old Molina is looking to get his career in serious motion, and a fight with Rios would give him that opportunity. He's currently slated to face Marvin Quintero on the February 17 edition of Friday Night Fights, but that would obviously be put aside for a chance to face Rios on HBO.
The fight is attractive simply because neither man knows how to make a bad fight. Molina hasn't fought since June 24, when he stopped a game but overmatched Robert Frankel on cuts in a blood-drenched Friday Night Fights main event. He's gone 5-0 since a surprise loss to Martin Honorio on ShoBox in November 2009. His biggest win during that time came in July 2010, when he stopped big-talking Hank Lundy, also on Friday Night Fights.
It's probably not the sort of marquee fight some would want to see from Rios, but if he's staying at 135, there really aren't marquee fights to be made, and this is a guaranteed action-packed brawl. Molina is reckless and aggressive, and so is Rios. Rios has proven more so far, and is the better fighter, but with a fight like this, you never know. Molina has more than enough power to turn a fight on a dime, as he showed against Lundy, so it would mostly be a question of whether or not he can stay out of trouble and give himself time to find openings on Rios (not exactly a snipe hunt).
I liked this idea for December and like it now. It'll be damn good action, it won't be a big, expensive card (not every HBO show has to be expensive), and it'll be a chance for Rios to find out if he can make 135 anymore or not. If he can't, and he shows up out of shape (even by killing himself late to make weight), Molina has the sort of power and fearlessness to pull an upset.
Now I will say that once again, this is good matchmaking by Top Rank if they get it done, and by good I mean fairly safe. This would mark three straight fights they've matched Rios against a defensively deficient, all-offense guy, following Murray and Urbano Antillon. But if that's their way of playing it safe with Rios, then, well, things could be worse.