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Molina headlines Saturday

Talented, promising lightweight prospect John Molina Jr. (18-0, 14 KOs) of Covina, Calif., will make his main event debut when he puts his unblemished record on the line against veteran Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (26-4-1, 14 KOs) of Mexico in a 10-rounder for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) lightweight championship in a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation, this Saturday, Nov. 28 live on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

In the co-feature, undefeated Los Angeles native Rico “Suavecito” Ramos (13-0, 8 KOs) will meet Los Angeles resident and World Boxing Council (WBC) USNBC super bantamweight belt-holder Alejandro “El Alacran” Perez (14-1-1, 9 KOs) in an eight-round junior bantamweight bout.

The doubleheader two days after Thanksgiving will feature four boxers capable of beating the stuffing out of each other. They have combined for 45 knockouts. The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and will emanate from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif.

Molina, who was born and raised in Monterey Park, Calif., is excited about headlining his first nationally televised fight card, and if all goes right for him, the 5-foot-10 1/2 inch 26-year-old doesn’t expect it to last long. Of Molina’s 14 knockouts, six have come in the first round and five in the second.

The lanky Molina’s last five bouts have ended by knockout, including his last outing on Sept. 26 at Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center when Molina ended his night 34 seconds after it began, flattening former United States Boxing Association (USBA) 135-pound titlist Efren Hinojosa with a right hand to the ribs, followed by a left-hand uppercut to the chin.

“I can’t wait for Nov. 28. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas,” said Molina, who is trained by Joe Goossen and turned pro on March 31, 2006. “I know I always say it’s my ‘launching pad,’ but this is really it. This is my coming-out party.

“Everybody knows that I’ve arrived in this weight division and I’m a force to be reckoned with. I’m staying at lightweight. I felt a lot stronger in my last fight, the way I obliterated Hinojosa. I’m a dominating figure in there. I’m going to be stronger than anyone in there. Right now, I feel like I’m on top of my game and it’ll only get better and better from here. I’m more afraid of losing my edge than being lazy.”

A fighter seemingly equipped to derail Molina off the fast track to stardom is the vastly more experienced Honorio, a 5-foot-9 1/2-inch, 29-year-old former USBA champion and world title challenger who has won two straight and is 7-1-1 in his last nine.

Honorio, whose only loss since April 2005 came to ShoBox alum and then-IBF featherweight champion and current IBF 130-pound kingpin, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, is a 10-year pro who exemplifies the warrior-like spirit fans associate with Mexican fighters.

Honorio’s most noteworthy triumphs include a 12-round decision over Rogers Mtagwa in November 2006, a 10-round decision over current World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Steven Luevano in November 2005 and a first-round knockout over current IBF 135-pound titleholder Cristobal Cruz in August 2002.

Honorio’s experience against so many quality fighters makes him a more battle-hardened opponent than anything Molina has seen.

“He’s very crafty. He beat Steven Luevano, which speaks volumes about his ability,” Molina said of Honorio. “I’ve got to be on my game because the guy can clip me. He’s been around the block. He’s been in there with the best. He’s beaten the best and he’s a credible name. We’re both rangy fighters but, to be honest, I don’t think he’s ever been in there with someone that possesses the power that I do. I think the styles match perfect. But I can’t guarantee how long it’s going to last.”

Honorio has only fought twice in the last two years – a fifth-round, one-punch knockout over Ricardo Medina in his last bout on Oct. 22, and a fifth-round knockout of Frank Archuleta in November 2008. The longer the fight goes, the greater the advantage may be for Honorio, given his developed defensive skills and proven durability and comfort in fights going the distance.

Said Honorio: “I’ve seen a little of John Molina. He’s a young comer, he’s undefeated, and he looks strong. He’s got a punch. I’m preparing 100 percent. I’m training tremendously hard, getting ready for a 10-round fight. Since Molina’s young, I want to take him into the deep water and drown him.”

Honorio’s boxing story is an extension of his deep relationship with his father, yet one of personal growth and tragedy. His most bittersweet victory came on a decision over Roman Poblano in Mexico City on Nov. 25, 2000. Honorio’s father, in attendance that night, passed away later that evening.

“It was an eight-round fight,” Honorio said. “It was a real bloodbath in Mexico. I guess it was too much for my dad to see, and he had a heart attack and died. I started boxing when I was 13. I was a skinny kid, and my father took me to the gym so I would learn how to defend myself. I started liking it and started competing and just went from there.”

The co-feature could be billed as a junior bantamweight battle of Los Angeles between Ramos, a 5-foot-5, 22-year-old in his second year as a pro making his television debut against Perez, a 5-foot-6, 23-year-old, was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and raised in Salinas but lives primarily in Los Angeles.

Both fighters are sharp, accurate punchers and will be looking to have an impressive performance.

Ramos has posted seven of his eight knockouts in three rounds or less. He throws strong combinations, but his most effective weapon is his left hook. A top amateur, Ramos was a 2006 National Police Athletic League (PAL) Championship and 2006 National Blue and Gold Tournament Gold Medalist and a 2002 National Junior Olympics Gold Medalist.

Coming off of a 2008 rookie campaign as a pro in which he fought eight times, Ramos will be fighting for the sixth time in 2009. This will be his third fight in Temecula – he knocked out Victor Martinez in the third round on Sept. 12 and earned a four-round decision over Jonathan Velardez on July 16, 2008. In his last fight on Sept. 26, Ramos recorded a six-round decision over Kermin Guardia.

“I’ve been preparing for this fight for a month and a half. I got right back in the gym after my last fight. I just took a couple of days off, maybe a week,” Ramos related. “I sparred with Perez a couple of times – it was three or four months ago. We sparred at least three or four times at the Wild Card Gym (in North Hollywood, Calif.). We did six rounds altogether. He tough, but he’s beatable.”

Perez, who turned pro at 18, is beginning to reap the prospects of his development. While four of his first five fights went the distance, his last five victories have ended by knockout. He stopped Victor Martinez in the first round on March 14, 2009, and, in his last start on May 1, he registered a ninth-round TKO over Adolfo Landeros in a match for the vacant WBC USNBC super bantamweight title. The victory over Landeros came in a rematch of a bout Landeros won via eight-round split decision on June 20, 2008.

“I’m hungry. I live off this sport. This is my life,” Perez said. “I’m going there to make a fight out of it, give the people what they pay to watch and give them a show. I hear a lot that I’m like the old, typical Mexican kind of boxer. (But) I know how to fight in the short distance and the medium distance. I have to be able to cut the ring, get him (Ramos) in the corner or get him on the ropes, and do as much damage as I can in those little, short seconds.

“I’ve seen him train and he’s seen me train. I know it’s going to be a really good fight for both of us. It will be a tough fight, but one has to win.”

Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing. ShoBox recently celebrated seven outstanding years on the air.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.




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