The co-feature of the Keith Thurman-Julio Diaz fight on Saturday, April 26 includes two fighters who have taken very different paths to get to this point. One fighter was nearly untouchable for two years leaving a path of destruction in his wake with only titles and belts in his crosshairs. The other fighter was intentionally given fights that were setup to favor the opponent leaving his legacy up in the air. On April 26 those paths will cross in what could be a fight of the night candidate.
The names Lucas Matthysse (34-3) and John Molina (27-3) do not make you jump out of your seat. If you are a casual boxing observer you may not even know who these two fighters are. But for boxing fans that follow the loaded 140lb and 147lb divisions this fight couldn’t setup more perfectly. While crisp, technical boxing may be important for some, the idea of a potential brawl will always bring the fans to their feet. In the fight between Matthysse and Molina you can throw footwork and head movement out of the window and embrace will, strength and heart as the keys to success.
Lucas Matthysse is coming off a heartbreaking loss to current title holder Danny Garcia and he needs to have a good showing in order to get back into title contention. Matthysse, who is not considered a technical fighter, was outclassed by Garcia, hitting the canvas once and ultimately losing a unanimous decision. While Matthysse claims he took an elbow to the eye during the Garcia fight there was no doubt that Garcia earned the victory. For some fighters a loss like that can be forgotten, but for Matthysse, who is now 31 years old, it is imperative that he beats Molina handily and earn another big fight in 2014. If he can’t seal a victory over Molina then he may be encouraged by manager Al Haymon to move up to the loaded 147lb division where more fights exist.
In the other corner John Molina prepares as he always does – with hard work and confidence. After a dramatic knockout victory in 2013 against Mickey Bey, Molina feels his game is in a perfect place and that his recent move in weight from 135lb to 140lb will not have an effect on the outcome of the fight. Molina, who is known for being a “straight ahead” fighter, plans to implement the same game plan he always has using pressure and big punches to take Matthysse out of his comfort zone. If you watched the Molina-Bey fight from June 2013 than you should know firsthand that you can never count out John Molina.
In what could be an exciting bout, fans should prepare their snacks early, bring the cooler of beer close to the couch and strap in for what could be an all-out war. Both fighters exercise the same style. And both fighters know that a loss can set them back immensely. Look for fireworks all night long and don’t be surprised if this fight doesn’t last very long.