By Sean Crose
It wasn’t supposed to be much of a fight card. And it certainly wasn’t supposed to be much of a fight. Yet, as fans sat at home watching Lucas Matthysse battle John Molina on Showtime Saturday, it became clear that something special was happening before their eyes. Make no mistake about it – the bout was a legitimate classic of the Gatti-Ward, Hagler-Hearns, and Dempsey-Firpo variety.
Matthysse was supposed to be making an easy comeback after his upset loss to Danny Garcia on the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard last fall. He found himself on an undercard again on Saturday, this time for a bout featuring Keith Thurman. Still, ferocious as he is, it’s doubtful Thurman’s performance against Julio Diaz will be remembered the same way Matthysse-Molina most likely will be.
For this wasn’t so much a fight as it was something out of a Rocky flick. Those on Twitter who proclaimed that Matthysse would be making a light dinner out of Molina were sadly mistaken. For Molina came to fight. And fight he did.
First of all, he wasn’t going to be bowled over. Matthysse was known as a heavy hitter, but Molina proved to be no deck of cards. In fact, Molina dropped the Argentinean not once but twice. What’s more, Molina started taking rounds from Matthysse. It looked like a huge, huge upset might be in the works.
Yet Matthysse was nothing if not a warrior. Even when it looked like he might lose for the second time in a row, there was never a doubt that Matthysse would end the fight swinging. And, in fact, he did. Only he didn’t end things on the losing side. He pulled out the victory.
Why? Because he absolutely, positively just kept coming. The world found out on Saturday night why the man is called The Machine. He was not to be deterred. He was not to be denied. And that was all there was to it. It wasn’t a fight where great skills were showcased. It was a fight where hearts were showcased.
Yet Molina had as much heart as Matthysse did. Matthysse would hit Molina. And Molina would take it. He’d hit Molina again. And Molina would take it again. But that wasn’t all. For Molina would hit back. Again. And again. And again.
Ultimately, the fight could be viewed as stormy sea of violence. The fists flew, the blood flowed and the edge sea-sawed between the two fighters. As time went on, however, it became clear that the fight was Matthysse’s. The waves kept crashing against the levee. It was only a matter of time before the levee broke.
Molina finally went down at the end of the tenth round. He looked in bad shape because he was. Yet he got up and somehow survived the round. After the bell Molina went to his corner and another sort of chaos began to ensue.
For the ring doctor wanted to take a good long look at Molina. But Dan Goosen, Molina’s trainer, somehow took offense (why is uncertain). The referee then went to the corner and told Goosen he was about to stop the fight.
In short, Molina had to show something at the sound of the bell. Unfortunately, the man had nothing left. Matthysse absolutely destroyed him early in the eleventh round. Things had come to their logical conclusion. The fight was wisely stopped. Molina didn’t seem too particularly hurt afterward, but one has to hope he was taken to the nearest hospital in order to be thoroughly checked out. The sport has seen one too many Magomed Abdusalamovs.
The question now is where to from here for each man. Matthysse said he wants a second shot at Garcia. I very much doubt that’s going to happen. After looking rather weak his last time in the ring, the popular Garcia is the perfect opponent for the challenge-averse Floyd Mayweather.
With that in mind, Matthysse might want to please the fans by battling Molina again. If, of course, he dares to.
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