By Sam Geraci
Photo: John Booz
Carlos “The King” Molina (19-5-2, 6 KOs) has stated that it is his “number one goal” to knockout veteran southpaw Damian “Devo” Frias (19-4-1, 10 KOs) in this week’s ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Earlier this week, Molina discussed with FightNews his fight this Friday, his unique style, the close fights he has had against big names plus potential opponents.
You are taking on Damian Frias who hasn’t yet proved to be at your level. How do you stay focused for a fight like this?
It doesn’t matter who you are fighting. You always expect a tough fight and go out there assuming it’s the best opponent. I train like every fight is a championship fight.
Will you be more aggressive with Frias? Are you going for the knockout?
As a boxer you got to go into every fight looking for the knockout. That’s the number one goal. If it’s there, you will know when to take it.
Is there anything about Frias that concerns you? What does he do best? On paper this looks like a stay busy fight.
He’s a veteran; he’s thirty-five years old. He knows what he’s doing in there, so a guy like that can always find a way to make things complicated for a fighter. And, he’s coming off a four-fight win streak so you can’t underestimate anybody.
What is the difference in this fight that will give you the edge?
My defense and my conditioning. I’m ready to stay busy and go all ten rounds if needed.
Did you do anything differently in camp?
No, I’ve just been working with southpaws, and I feel real comfortable with southpaws. It’s a good thing too because there are a lot of good southpaws at 154 pounds so this fight will help.
How long has your camp been?
All year (laughs). There is no offseason in boxing. You always have to be in the gym, but when you have a fight you step up the sparring and strength and conditioning.
You are one of the slickest and most clever fighters out there, but your style results in close controversial fights. In other words, you shouldn’t be disappointed if you don’t get the decision. What do you think about that?
I don’t agree with that. Every time I’m fighting someone I feel like I’m the aggressor. I’m always working; I’m either punching or I’m moving or slipping. It’s too bad if people don’t see that. I’m just trying my hardest to win and improve and get better.
Where did you pick up that style? A Mexican boxer from Chicago who has a slick and tricky style is not what you would expect.
(Laughs) I think it’s a combination of the two trainers I’ve had, and it’s also just the person I am. My first trainer was all defense and my current trainer is about defense with angles that help to be offensive, and I think I’ve combined the two styles.
Which boxers did you watch or want to be like when you grew up?
When I was younger, I didn’t follow boxing too closely but we used to watch a lot of Chavez fights. The whole family would get together and watch Chavez fights.
What was it like to fight his son?
I was up to the challenge. When they told me the fight was available, I took it right away. I was excited because I had seen him fight and I knew I could go in there and beat him.
Who is going to win between Chavez Jr. and Martinez?
I gotta take Martinez with this one. Chavez is better and stronger than he was (when we fought). He goes in there at 180 pounds, but I feel Sergio’s movement is going to be hard for Chavez to adapt to. Chavez is going to pressure him and it depends if he can handle the pressure and counter, which I think he can.
You have fought and looked good with some of the top fighters from jr welterweight (140 pounds) to jr middleweight (154 pounds), such as Mike Alvarado, James Kirkland, Kermit Cintron, Chavez Jr., and Erislandy Lara. Why is it that your name doesn’t get tossed around for big money fights?
The time we are in right now in boxing kinda goes more for the undefeated record because it looks nicer than my 19-5 against good fighters, but with my losses I’ve learned a lot and become a better fighter. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I only had seven amateur fights, so I am still learning and getting better with each fight.
You fought Mike Alvarado and now he is fighting Brandon Rios. Would you be willing to fight the winner of that fight at 140lbs or some type of catch weight?
I would but I feel like the weight difference is too much. I was thinking of going back to my natural weight of 147. The reason I got stuck at 154 is that I couldn’t get a fight at 147.
Is middleweight (160 pounds) out of the question?
I thought about it because I can’t seem to get the big fight yet, but I’m already out of my weight class at 154.
If you get the win against Frias, who do you want next?
I would love a world title shot against Canelo or any of the titlists, but if it doesn’t happen, I just want anybody in the top ten. I want the biggest fights so we can determine who the best 154-pound fighter is. Right now we couldn’t secure a top ten fighter, so we took a fighter who would actually take the fight.
Which fighters do you like? Who are you a fan of today?
Right now, I like watching (Juan Manuel) Marquez. I like how smart he is in the ring. At his age, he still one of the best boxers out there right now.
Where does the nickname “King” come from?
Not too much to it. My trainer from Wisconsin gave it to me. He just started calling me “King” one day and it just stuck.
Anything you want to add?
I just want to make the best fights out there. The best should be fighting the best at 154lbs.