By Sean Crose
Give junior middleweight contender Jermall Charlo this: he’s a gracious guy. On a conference call leading up to his upcoming title shot against IBF champ Carlos Molina, the Houston native came right out and clearly spoke his mind.
“I don’t feel like Carlos Molina lost against anyone he lost to,” he said. “I feel like he’s an undefeated fighter.” Lots of fans and writers may agree, but those are fans and writers – not opponents. Charlo, however, is nothing if not confident.
“He’s never fought anyone with my size, my power and my skill,” the 17-0 knockout artist went on, “so I’m giving Carlos Molina something he’s never seen before.”
Indeed, Charlo is a highly skilled individual. He may spend most of his time in his brother Jermell’s shadow, but he’s dangerous, a fact that’s attested to by his impressive record of 13 knockouts. But those colorful finishes are only part of Charlo’s story.
For the guy possess an amazingly fast and potent jab, a jab so effective that it wears opponents down as if it were a thunderous left to the body. Charlo’s defensive skills are excellent, as well. In short, he won’t be easy for Molina to get to.
Not that the popular Molina is intimidated. “This is what I wanted,” he claimed. “I want full fights, you know.” The champion is truly an oddity in today’s sport in that he wishes to fight a lot. What other title holder, besides Golovkin, does the same hold true for?
“If it was available to me,” Molina said, “I’d be fighting every month.”
Is Molina underestimating the man standing before him, however? Is his current view so wide that he’s unable to direct his gaze on the threat that is Jermall Charlo? Molina certainly doesn’t seem to think so.
“I train hard (to) fight no matter what,” he explained, “because if I don’t win I don’t get to advance.”
Molina is wise not to look beyond his foe this March. Charlo is serious competition. Besides, Molina knows – perhaps better than anyone – that a fight you think you’ve won can somehow turn into a loss. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. Mike Alvarado. The list of men people feel Molina unfairly lost to can at times seem endless.
“It was a tough road,” Molina told reporters of his climb to the top. “But I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or anything like that.” Indeed, the man’s thoughts on his difficult past were insightful yet finite. “That (hard experience),” he said, “made me a better fighter.”
No one can argue that Molina isn’t a top notch pugilist. His difficult style consists of terrific body work, as well as an impressive ability to move his head in the opposite direction of oncoming punches. Yet Charlo has a height advantage. And that jab. That amazing, spitfire jab.
Molina, however, doesn’t appear concerned. “He’s got that jab, he’s got that height and that’s what he uses real good.” the champion conceded. Still: “We’re just going to take that away from him.”
Charlo ended the press conference by directing some words directly at the guy he’s weeks away from meeting in the ring. “I’ve got a lot of respect for you, man,” he said. “but when it’s time to fight I respect no party.”
Molina, true to form, answered in kind.
“Yep,” he responded. “Same here, man.”
Respect is a great thing, an essential thing, even. Skill and determination, however, will decide the winner of this fight.