By Scott Gilfoid: Former heavyweight world title challengers Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale (18-1, 16 KOs) and Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (26-3, 19 KOs) will be fighting on November 4 on the Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder vs. Bermane Stiverne card, according to news from social media.
Breazeale vs. Molina would presumably be the co-feature bout on that card, which will be shown on Showtime World Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Breazeale and Molina both have one thing in common; they both challenged heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua for his IBF belt in the UK, and both were knocked out by him. Molina, 35, fought WBC champion Deontay Wilder 2 years ago and was knocked out in the 9th round of a competitive fight on June 13, 2015. Molina staggered Wilder at one point in the fight with a left hook. However, the 6’7” Deontay Wilder turned up the heat on Molina after that and knocked him down in round 4 and two times in the 5th. In the 9th, Wilder nailed Molina at will with power shots until referee Jack Reiss was forced to step in and stop the contest.
Breazeale, a 2012 U.S Olympian, was previously scheduled to face Stiverne in the co-feature bout on the November 4 card. That all changed when Wilder’s opponent for that date, Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, tested positive for a banned drug. The World Boxing Council opted not to sanction the Wilder-Ortiz fight, so Stiverne moved up from the co-feature bout to face Wilder in the main event. It’s a good deal for the boxing fans, as Stiverne is arguably just as good a fighter as Ortiz. Stiverne might even be better. We still don’t know how good Ortiz is.
Breazeale had an offer from British promoter Eddie Hearn to fight #3 WBC Dillian Whyte on just 3 weeks’ notice on the Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev card on October 28 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Breazeale, for whatever reason, opted not to accept the fight. It’s unclear if the money wasn’t good enough or if he felt that 3 weeks wasn’t enough time to adequately prepare for the fight. It would have been tough on Breazeale, as he would be fighting a body puncher in in 29-year-old Whyte, who would be fighting in front of large crowd of his boxing fans in Cardiff.
It wouldn’t be a good deal for Breazeale to take that fight on short notice. Even fighting Molina is still a huge risk for Breazeale, as Molina is a tremendous puncher. The difference between Molina and Whyte, besides age, is the pace that the two fights at. Whyte goes after his opponents with nonstop pressure no matter what. Even when Whyte is exhausted from the pace he sets, he’s still coming forward trying to knockout his opponents. Whyte’s body punching would have made it tough on Breazeale. Whyte is now using more body punching, and it’s going to make him for anyone in the heavyweight division to beat him now. If Whyte had focused on throwing to the body of Joshua in their fight in 2015, he probably would have knocked him out. However, Joshua was arguably saved from being stopped when Whyte suffered a bad shoulder injury in the 2nd round. Joshua was staggered in round 2, and he gassed out badly. It’s debatable whether Joshua would have been able to withstand Whyte’s attacks if he hadn’t suffered a shoulder injury.
Molina, 6’4”, has excellent size and devastating punching power when he’s sitting down on his shots. He’s coming off a 6-round majority decision against journeyman Jamal Woods (13-37-7, 10 KOs) on September 2. There’s no shame in Molina not being able to knockout Woods, because this guy is rarely stopped. What’s odd is that the fight was so close. That’s not a good sign if you’re a Molina fan. He should have been able to dominate Woods instead of winning by a narrow 6 round decision. I blame Molina’s slow fighting pace for him not blowing Woods away. Molina fights like he’s conserving energy in his fights, and that allows his opponents to win a lot of rounds. We saw a perfect example of that in Molina’s fight against 40-year-old Tomasz Adamek last year. It should have been an easy fight for the much bigger and stronger Molina. Instead, Molina fought at a snail’s pace, allowing Adamek to build up a big lead in the first 9 rounds of the fight. Molina then came on strong in the 10th round and was able to knockout Adamek. The fight could have been so easy for Molina if he had unloaded on Adamek in the first two rounds instead of fighting passively for the first 9 rounds.
Breazeale, 6’7”, would have to be viewed as the favorite to win against Molina. Breazeale, 32, is coming off of a career best 5th round knockout win over Izuagbe Ugonoh on February 25. It was a sensational fight, even though Breazeale was dropped by Ugonoh in round 4. Breazeale took some major shots from Ugonoh, but he could knock him down 3 times and get a 5th round knockout. Frankly, I rate that fight as the most exciting heavyweight fight I’ve ever seen before. Both guys were throwing bombs from start to finish. Breazeale showed tremendous heart to get up off the deck in the 4th round to come back and get the victory in the 5th.
Molina is going to need to fight at much quicker pace against Breazeale if he doesn’t want to get knocked out, because this is the wrong guy for him to be starting slowly against. Molina fought like he feared his own shadow in his fights with Adamek and Joshua. Molina never did go after Joshua. Molina looked terrified in that fight. Once Joshua realized that Molina was too afraid to throw punches, he quickly took him out in the 3rd round. It was sad to see for Molina, and it must have been worse for the paying boxing fans that had come to see the Joshua-Molina fight at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. They expected to see a fight. Instead, they watched frozen looking Molina not throwing punches and just taking punishment in a one-sided fight.