By Esteban Walters
Last night from the Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, N.M., 30-year-old John Molina (25-2, 20KOs) of Covina, CA, got back in the win column by knocking out Ohio’s 28-year-old Dannie Williams (22-3, 18KOs) in the 4th round of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights 10-round lightweight main event presented by Goosen Tutor Promotions.
Coming into the fight, both men — who carry knockout power — were at a crossroad in their respective careers and each needed an impressive victory to stay relevant in the lightweight mix.
Molina was coming off a devastating 44 second knockout loss on Sept. 8 in his HBO debut to then WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco which resulted in the hiring of perennial Trainer of the Year candidate Robert Garcia of the Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, CA, as his new instructor.
The DeMarco affair was a strange knockout and many were critical of Molina’s will, and fighting intellect, implicating that he was a quitter or that he didn’t have the mental capacity to take a knee and save himself from a ridiculed KO loss. The stoppage was controversial and may have been early, but as DeMarco rained down a barrage of unanswered punches on Molina as he was covering up, John seemed lost in there without an idea of what to do.
“I was never hurt [in the loss to DeMarco],” said Molina. “That fight is the past now.”
Jack Leow trained Dannie Williams was trying to avoid his second Friday Night Fights loss in a row. Before knocking out Rynell Griffen in the 7th round back in October, Williams was handily beat by Hank Lundy by unanimous decision in a March Friday Night Fights main event. The same Hank Lundy that provided John Molina with the finest moment of his career as he abruptly KO’d Lundy in the 11th round of a fight that Hank was winning comfortably on Friday Night Fights’ main stage in 2010.
Nothing much happened in the 1st round until Molina landed a flush right hand at the end to win the frame.
Williams, who was at a three-inch height disadvantage, got busier and more aggressive in the 2nd stanza which he took.
In the 3rd the fight got a little rough and Williams suffered a cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads. Moments later Molina landed a stout right hand and then a big left hook that rocked Williams.
Dannie was utilizing his jab well and trying to set up his shots while the pressing Molina was launching wild power punches. Molina’s tact paid off with a minute to go in the 4th when he backed Williams into a corner and threw a one-two jab-right hand, with the latter clipping Williams on the top-left side of the head near the temple, throwing his equilibrium off-center and surrendering his body limp as it bent at the waist — as though he was sitting in a chair — before his arms flung upward whipping his frame backwards and into the ropes before crashing onto the canvas face down with one arm clinging to the top rope before giving way. Williams was badly hurt on the canvas, his body under the ropes with the front half extended outside the ring and nearly on top of an officials table. When Dannie finally grabbed the ropes and pulled himself to his feet, he did so from the other side of the apron and was looking into the ring instead of being in it. By that time referee Rocky Burke had already reached the count of 10 and waved off the action while grabbing Williams to help brace the dazed fighter as the ropes stood between two as a barrier.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:16 of the 4th round as Molina reestablished himself at 135 pounds, while improving his record to 25-2 with 20 big wins coming by way of knockout.
“I went out and landed the right hand,” said Molina after the fight. “I feel real good with my new trainer Robert Garcia.”
“It was a good fight that we needed to get back. Dannie Williams is a great competitor; a lot of knockouts, a lot of power in his punch. With my new trainer Robert Garcia having me press the issue a little bit more… we went on and landed the right hand, and it’s no secret I have power in my right hand,” added Molina
With the victory Molina is well positioned to challenge champions Ricky Burns and Miguel Vazquez.
Dannie Williams on the other hand is facing the obscure position of being relegated to just an opponent with little glory expected of him.
In the evening’s co-feature Sacramento’s undefeated 28-year-old prospect Brandon Gonzales (17-0, 10KOs) beat 34-year-old Don Mouton (12-5-1, 10KOs) of Houston, TX, by unanimous decision in an 8-round super middleweight bout. The fight was less than thrilling and if Gonzales wants his professional affairs to continue being shown on live TV, his latest performance isn’t going to cut it. Not to mention he tired near the end and was getting caught with big shots.
The official scores were 78-75, 77-75 and 77-75 for Gonzales.