In a matchup of veteran welterweights known for action, Josesito Lopez just had a lot more in the tank tonight than opponent John Molina Jr, dropping Molina three times en route to an eighth round stoppage win.
Molina (30-9, 24 KO) was down just about 30 seconds into the opening round, and was down again late in the first from a body shot, barely — and arguably, frankly — beating Ray Corona’s count.
Molina kept trying to battle, giving Lopez (37-8, 20 KO) some decent work, particularly in the fifth round, but he was down again late in the seventh from a right hand, and caught clean again at the end of that round.
Referee Corona and the ringside physician both sounded like they wanted to stop the fight there, as did Molina’s corner, but Molina pleaded to get “one more round.” Corona warned him that “the first solid shot” that landed, he was going to step in, and that’s what happened, basically. 39 seconds into the eighth round, with Molina having eaten a few more shots from Lopez, Corona stepped in and stopped the bout.
Molina, 36, pulled out of a scheduled July fight with Sergey Lipinets due to a back injury, and given his performance in this one, you have to consider that maybe he wasn’t fully healed. He looked stiff in the upper body and lacked head movement — not that he’s ever been a defensive specialist, and he’s certainly getting older, but even for Molina he was having trouble avoiding the right hand of Lopez.
“He’s a warrior for sure. It was a pleasure being in the ring with John Molina,” Lopez said after the fight. “I’m ‘The Riverside Rocky’ and I’m here to challenge all champions for big battles until the end.”
The 35-year-old Lopez, who lost a majority decision to Keith Thurman last time out in January, keeps his career alive with this win, and with his spirit and demeanor, he’ll surely be back in a notable fight next time out, too.
“I knew John Molina wasn’t gonna quit, he’s a warrior,” Lopez said of his opponent. “I knew he wasn’t gonna quit for sure so I had to keep on the pressure and keep hitting him, and hopefully the ref, the team makes the right call. It was a pleasure being in the ring with him.”