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Joshua says Molina won’t hit him on Saturday

Anthony Joshua

By Scott Gilfoid: IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) says he’s going to go 12 rounds and not let his opponent #8 IBF Eric Molina (25-3, 19 KOs) hit him this Saturday night on December 10 when the two of them face each other at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

Joshua, 27, wants to out-box the 34-year-old Molina and show a comparison between how beats him and how WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber defeated him in their fight in 2015. Wilder stopped Molina in the 9th round last year in June. That was a fight in which Wilder was coming off of a fractured right hand injury from his previous fight against Bermane Stiverne.

Wilder rarely used his right hand against Molina. After the fight, Wilder admitted that he wasn’t confident in using his right hand because of the previous injury.

Joshua needs to make sure he beats Molina, because he’s got a big fight against Wladimir Klitschko that will be taking place in the first quarter of 2017. That fight will be staged at the 80,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London, England. It’ll be televised on Sky Box Office pay-per-view, and it’s expected to bring in a lot of buys despite Wladimir being 40-years-old now, and no longer the fighter that he once was.

The British boxing public is expected to purchase the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight in big numbers. Wladimir hasn’t fought since November of 2015 in losing to Tyson Fury by a 12 round decision. Wladimir looked dreadful against Fury, as well in his fight before that against Bryant Jennings in April 2015. Just based off those two performances, it’s hard to know why anyone would be interested in seeing Wladimir fight Joshua live on PPV or at Wembley Stadium. Wladimir looks terrible now, and he obviously isn’t going to be helped by his 1 ½ year layoff from boxing.

I think it would be the same thing if Joshua were about to turn 41 and still fighting. When Joshua reaches 40, I have a hard time picturing him being able to beat a young fighter fighting in his own country in front of pack of 80,000 fans that are rooting against him. I doubt that Joshua will still be fighting at 40, but I further doubt that he would put himself in the position where he’s fighting a younger fighter in his own country in front of 80,000 fans if/when that time comes. Wladimir has his reasons for wanting to still fight, and he also his reasons for agreeing to fight in the UK in front of a Joshua crowd.

Joshua said this to about a fight against Molina:

“I can predict it going 12 rounds, and not getting hit. That should be the mindset I’m in,” said Joshua. “I don’t want to make this fight about Deontay Wilder,” Joshua said. “[Molina] put up a hell of a fight because Wilder is supposed to be this one-punch knockout artist. It will be a good comparison in the back of my mind.”

I hope that Joshua doesn’t fight passively for 12 rounds against Molina on Saturday, because it’ll be boring for the boxing fans that pay to see the fight on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK and on Showtime Championship Boxing in the States. The fans want to see excitement for 12 rounds.

They don’t want to want to see a boring match where one guy is just trying to box rather than stand and fight. With Joshua talking about wanting to take the fight the full 12 rounds, it suggests that he doesn’t want to risk getting clipped by one of Molina’s big punches.

If Joshua gets knocked out by Molina, then that would ruin his chances for his big payday fight against Wladimir. Joshua is going to get other big payday fights in his career besides Wladimir. Even if Joshua loses to Molina, he’ll still get huge paydays, because he’s got an entire country behind him in the UK due to him winning a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.

The British boxing fans naturally support Joshua due to that gold medal, and they’ll likely continue to support him after he suffers his fist loss of his career. Joshua will lose eventually and maybe even this Saturday. I don’t expect his fans to abandon him unless he starts losing frequently. That’s not possible given the way that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is currently matching him.

Hearn has been playing it safe with Joshua by putting him in with guys like Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale and Dillian Whyte. Now he’s matching him against the recently knocked out Molina on Saturday. Next year, Joshua will be fighting Wladimir, who is coming off of a loss in which he looked terrible. Like I said, I think Hearn is matching Joshua very carefully right now, and I suspect he’ll continue to do that as long as he’s his promoter.

I don’t see the outcome of the Joshua vs. Molina fight having any bearing to the Wilder-Molina fight that took place last year. Its apples and oranges; Deontay was coming off of a bad hand injury when he fought Molina. Wilder rarely used his hand against Molina due to his hand problem, but when he did use it, Molina went down. Deontay knocked Molina down repeatedly in the fight. Wilder even knocked Molina down with a left hook, which is kind of rare for him.

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