LAS VEGAS -- Junior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina is supposed to defend his belt for the first time against Jermall Charlo on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in one of the featured bouts on the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo Showtime PPV card.
One problem: Molina is in jail at the Clark County Detention Center, and it is unclear whether he will be out in time to weigh in Friday, much less fight Saturday.
"We're still working on getting him out of jail," Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules told ESPN.com on Thursday after Molina was a no show at the final news conference. "There is an immigration hold on him and we're trying to figure everything out. I'm doing my best. Carlos just said, 'Get me out, I want to fight.'"
Molina, 30, of Chicago, was arrested in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning on an outstanding warrant from 2007 in Wisconsin because he failed to register as a sex offender. But even after the warrant was taken care of Thursday and Molina had been granted bail, his release was denied when Las Vegas police learned that he was also wanted by immigration officials.
"In 2001, when he was 18 years old -- and I'm just learning all this this week -- he got arrested for statutory rape. She was 16 or 15, two teenagers," Margules, who is also an attorney, said. "Not knowing how it would impact his life at all, he pled guilty to time served in Appleton, Wis., and did three years probation and never registered as a sex offender. That was what the warrant was for. I worked it out.
"We spoke to Wisconsin and we agreed on a $10,000 bond. We had a bond hearing (Thursday morning in Las Vegas). I posted the bond. He was supposed to be out by 10 or 11 and be at the press conference. Then we found out there was an immigration hold."
Molina was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States since he was 4, has a child here and what Margules described as a "common law wife of 11 years."
"I thought he was a citizen. He was a permanent resident," Margules said.
Margules said he was not sure what the immigration hold was for and was uncertain if he would get out for the fight.
"I'm working on it. Do I think I'm getting him out? I have no idea," he said. "I thought I was getting him out (Thursday) morning. I'm trying to get to the bottom of what the actual issue is. The first time I heard the word 'immigration' was when he was bailing out of jail."
Molina is due to make a $275,000 purse for the fight, with Charlo due $100,000. Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) won the title at the MGM Grand in September by outpointing Ishe Smith on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Alvarez undercard.
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer, who is promoting the card and promotes Charlo, said if Molina is unavailable for the fight he will move a lightweight fight between Ricardo Alvarez, Canelo's older brother, and Sergio Thompson onto the pay-per-view portion of the card.
The situation has left Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs), 23, of Houston, in a tough spot, having trained for 10 weeks for his first shot at a world title only to be left uncertain if he will fight.
"It's a lot frustrating. It's part of the struggle but I'm here to fight," Charlo said. "I'm in shape. I had an awesome training camp. I'm ready for whatever Carlos Molina brings or if he don't bring it, I'm ready to get back in camp and get another fight.
"Stuff happens. My hopes up are. I really feel like the fight is gonna happen. I'm here waiting. I'm anticipating that I'll fight. I'm gonna weigh in (on Friday) and I'm gonna be on point. If we don't fight, I'll take a rest and I'll get back in camp."