Lightweight John Molina’s low point was a 44-second knockout loss in an HBO-televised world title fight against Antonio DeMarco in September. It gets no worse than that for a fighter.
But Molina, of Covina, Calif., has not given up on his hopes of someday winning a world title, and he returned in January with a good victory as he knocked out Dannie Williams in the fourth round.
Now Molina (25-2, 20 KOs) is seeking a second consecutive win when he faces Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KOs) of Russia in a scheduled 10-rounder on June 7 (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) at Little Creek Casino and Resort in Shelton, Wash.
“As of right now, everything in camp is the mindset that is purely on Klimov,” the 30-year-old Molina said. “I know him and I know sometimes fighters like Klimov go under the radar with the fans and television executives because he's from Russia and not seen here in America often. But in beating him it will take a great performance from me, and I'm prepared to do just that.
“The fight plan is to go out there and look impressive. Control the fight. If it goes the distance, we're ready. If a knockout comes, we'll jump all over it.”
Klimov said he has studied Molina and also is ready.
“I will box and stay out of a straight line, and try to move in and out on him,” he said. “I will not look for a knockout. I'm ready to go at the same pace for all 10 rounds, if it goes the distance. My ultimate goal would be to fight for the championship of the world. I never duck anybody and fight whoever is put in front of me and now it's in my hands to beat Molina impressively so everyone knows who I am.”
Given how thin the lightweight division is now, especially with the imminent departure of titleholder Adrien Broner, it is not out of the question that the Molina-Klimov winner gets a title shot sooner than later.
In the co-feature, super middleweight Farah Ennis (20-1, 12 KOs), 30, of Philadelphia will meet Anthony Hanshaw (23-2-2, 14 KOs) of High Point, N.C.
Hanshaw, 35, was once a rising contender before losing a decision to Roy Jones in 2007, followed by a fifth-round knockout loss to Andre Dirrell in 2008.
After calling it quits for more than four years, Hanshaw returned in October. He won decisions in his first two comeback fights against woeful opposition and fought to a draw in February against Derek Edwards.
Although it is unlikely, Hanshaw said he is aiming for a shot at super middleweight champ Andre Ward.
“I've worked very hard to get back to this point and failure is not an option,” Hanshaw said. “After I put the final nail in Farah's casket, I'll look for a shot at Andre Ward to concrete my name in boxing history.”