Deontay Wilder will meet Eric Molina for the WBC heavyweight title in Alabama, with Showtime televising a doubleheader, as has been expected. The co-feature will pit Jose Pedraza against Andrey Klimov in a fight for the vacant IBF super featherweight title.
The show will air June 13 at 9 pm EST, meaning it will go up against an HBO Boxing After Dark event that same night.
Wilder (33-0, 32 KO) won the WBC belt in his last outing, beating Bermane Stiverne in the first fight of Wilder's pro career to go the distance. The former Olympic bronze medalist was impressive that night, and proved to at least some of his critics that he's the real deal as a top heavyweight.
Molina (23-2, 17 KO) is a non-contender with five straight wins, all against mediocre at best opposition, the best wins coming over Raphael Zumbano Love, DaVarryl Williamson, and Tony Grano. In his last fight against a relevant heavyweight, he was knocked out in 2:30 by Chris Arreola.
Needless to say, this isn't what boxing fans were hoping for from Wilder's first title defense, nor is it in line with what Showtime's Stephen Espinoza recently told Luke Thomas about how PBC will impact premium cable boxing content:
"So now with all these other outlets and the opportunity to get a big audience and make decent money, then we can get back to sort of cherry-picking the biggest and the best fights. That's the strategy we started off with with Deontay for the long run. Now if Deontay or anyone else wants to take maybe a mid-level fight -- Amir Khan (vs Chris Algieri), for example. That's not necessarily a premium television fight."
Espinoza is now doing his best to hype a fight that nobody sees as competitive on paper.
"Deontay made an emphatic statement with his performance in January that he is one of the current and future stars of this sport, and we're thrilled to welcome him back to Showtime for his first title defense," he said. "But we all know that one punch can change everything in the heavyweight division and Eric Molina will be coming to Alabama to prove just that."
Wilder, 29, is just happy to be headed back home. "It was one of my dreams to win a world title. This was my other dream to be able to defend it before all my fans in Alabama. I can't wait until fight night to step into the ring and see the whole state coming out to support me."
The 33-year-old Molina is doing his part to talk up the bout, too. "Winning the heavyweight world championship is my dream. Just as it was Deontay's dream, it's mine now. He had his turn, though it will be short-lived. I will become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion. Guaranteed. So, champ, come prepared for war. I'm coming to kick some ass."
The co-feature, which is for the belt that was vacated by Rances Barthelemy, sees Jose "Sniper" Pedraza (19-0, 12 KO) of Puerto Rico look to sort of snap a recent run of bad luck or bad hype with Puerto Rican prospects against Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KO).
Klimov, 32, lost to Terence Crawford back in 2013, but clearly that's no reason to count him out, as Crawford has gone on to become one of the hottest young fighters in the game. The winner of this fight will not only be taking their first world title belt home, but will also be scoring a career-best pro victory.
"The opening bout will be Jose Pedraza's opportunity to establish himself as Puerto Rico's next champion and a rising star," said Lou DiBella, who is serving as the promoter of the show.
Showtime will also have a new edition of All Access on Wilder, which will premiere on June 3 at 10 pm EST.