ESPN2 Friday Night Fights TV Cheat Sheet- June 24, 2011
By Martin Mulcahey, MaxBoxing (June 24, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
John Molina - Photo © German Villasenor, Doghouse Boxing
Last Friday, the upset bug struck the FNF program again, taking Fernando Guerrero’s pristine record with it. The prospects featured on tonight’s show need not worry about losing their undefeated records, since both have already suffered unanticipated setbacks on television. However, as most fans understand, in boxing, how a fighter bounces back from defeat is the real measure of a man. Boxer’s psyches are a fragile thing and it is difficult to forecast the career path of a boxer after an unexpected defeat. Today, John Molina and Mike Dallas are matched in a manner to push hot buttons and make the fighters doubt themselves. That makes for an intriguing evening of fights.

At the Pechanga Casino, Temecula, CA
(ESPN2) Mike Dallas (17-1-1) vs. Mauricio Herrera (17-1)
(ESPN2) John Molina (22-1) vs. Robert Frankel (28-10-1)

Robert Frankel - Denver native resumes his toughman role, trying to overcome the odds again to post a quality win on the road. Frankel is a light-hitting volume puncher who goes the distance in entertaining scraps but lacks the overall talent to register more upsets. 31-year-old has done things the hard way, having no amateur experience, learning in the gym and putting newly-acquired skills into action on the fly. Except for a blowout against a novice opponent in his last fight, has gone the distance in his last eight bouts, helping to build 267 rounds worth of experience. Is a hot-and-cold fighter, who looks good winning a wide decision over a mid-level boxer like Bobby Pacquiao, but loses when he steps in with elite competition. Despite power limitations (five stoppages in 28 wins), holds wins over tough veterans like Michael Stewart, Mike Gonzalez, Ramon Montano, Bobby Pacquiao, and Ricardo Dominguez. A near eight-year pro, winning seven of his last eight bouts, Frankel was a surprisingly heavy 148¼ pounds for his last fight three months ago. In 2008 and 2009, scored his most significant wins, beating Dominguez and Pacquiao. Frankel lost his most meaningful bout by close majority decision to former champion David Diaz five months ago. Entered that fight off a forced two-year layoff (jailed for domestic abuse against his pregnant wife) and his timing was obviously effected early in that bout. If Frankel had any power, some of those close setbacks could have gone his direction, given a solid chin and high work rate. His long arms make for a gangly, mauling style, using volume punching to smother his foes’ offense as much as to inflict damage. To win, Frankel relies on his jab and feet and jab, employing a long reach to compensate for average hand speed. Seems out of his depth when faced with a mover and will lean in and brawl despite getting outfought on the inside. Has habit of letting opponents set the pace, doing just enough to lose against good opposition instead of reverting to a plan B. Frankel believes he has what it takes to upset Molina. "I have seen Molina fight on TV several times and have identified some weaknesses in his game I can exploit."

John Molina – Impressed me in his television debut, a third round kayo of Ghanaian Joshua Allotey, and in a couple of subsequent TV appearances, his physical power shone through. Brute force was not enough for Molina against Martin Honorio, unable to maintain contact and impose his brawn on the cagey veteran. Was well behind on points to Henry Lundy, displaying remarkable discipline before scoring an eighth round knockdown that changed the fight. Surged from that point on, using his momentum and accuracy to stop a mobile foe in the 11th round. Molina is a solidly built lightweight with broad shoulders who likes to mix it up and is at his best coming straight down the middle at retreating foes. In the Allotey win, Molina alternated his attack from the head to the body scoring a stoppage with wicked liver shots. 18 of 22 wins are by stoppage, using leverage and balance learned as a high school wrestler (began boxing at 10, not taking it seriously until age 16, winning two California Golden Gloves titles). Molina is possessed of natural strength, with an evenly proportioned musculature that wears on opponents as the rounds ratchet up. Over the last year, his team (promoted and trained by the Goossens) has elevated the opposition after building Molina’s confidence early against naturally smaller opponents. Molina has learned well, sensing when he has a clear advantage in one area, attacking that weakness with fervor, hitting equally hard with both hands. His aggression is nonstop, using angles at times but mainly overwhelming foes with combinations. Has a solid inside attack but sometimes looked confused by angles from Honorio and Lundy unable to cut off the ring. At 5’10½” with a 72” reach, Molina is tall for a lightweight but lacks the experience and maybe ring instincts to maximize those physical assets. Was not able to stay out of range on defense in lone loss, backing up in straight lines or dipping away with his hands down. In setback to Honorio, showed a lot of heart, losing mid-ring exchanges where it was advisable he retreat and set up a new attack. Is said to have the work ethic to work out his current limitations and with Molina’s punch and fan-friendly style, he will be forgiven a lack of style before stopping opponents.

Verdict – The natural strength of Molina will counteract the usually aggressive and forward moving Frankel and when Frankel is pushed backward, 60% of his offense dissipates. Much like the Adrien Broner – Jason Litzau bout, the upper body strength advantage will be a key factor, allowing Molina to dictate in what portion of the ring engagements will happen. Frankel is easily dragged into the trenches as well, a willing accomplice to his defeat. Despite all this, Frankel will fight hard and when allowed to stay on the outside, strike with a solid overhand right and try to follow it up before the inevitable pushback. Molina presses and scores the more impactful punches, which the judges will appreciate and register the toll they take on Frankel’s features. The bout goes the distance unless Molina puts in great bodywork, with Molina winning eight of ten rounds.

Mauricio Herrera – Californian has a unique learning curve, beginning to box at age 13 but not competing in an amateur fight until his fourth year of training. Accepted an equally farsighted approach to the pro game, sticking with an amateur trainer who had more patience than foresight (ended with a 29-1 amateur record), convinced not to turn pro until age 27 despite feeling he was ready on his 21st birthday. Is now a 31-year-old prospect playing catch-up, who might have missed his prime but is currently dishing out punishment to whoever will agree to fight him. Once Herrera was matched with trainer Willie Silva, the current version took form, shedding weight (began as a junior middleweight) to expose a barbwire tough frame and accepting difficult opponents on short notice. Herrera’s constant gym work has paid off, springing upsets in four of his first eight bouts. That has continued to this day, most recently knocking off Ruslan Provodnikov in a heated battle in which Herrera battled through a fractured cheekbone. Despite taking a lot of punches in that fight, Herrera can be tricky on defense, when he stays on the outside giving movement, slipping and rolling with punches to set up quick counters. Uses a short and crisp jab to keep foes honest, placing himself behind it to launch a quick combination and stay within punching range. Steps into the jab well, giving impact despite his lack of muscle definition and upper body heft. Shoots an accurate right hand but it lacks strength so Herrera wisely chooses volume over power and is accepting of that limitation. Got stronger as the rounds wore on against a physically bigger Provodnikov, surprising many by throwing combinations on the inside. The only blemish on Herrera’s record is a disputed split decision loss to former WBO champion Mike Anchondo and the combined record of his opponents was 68-20-6 in his first ten fights. Signed with Thompson Boxing after upsetting Mexican prospect Pavel Miranda, impressing with his nonstop pressuring style. In addition to ring accomplishments, is brought in by champions like Antonio Margarito and stablemate Tim Bradley for sparring. Interviews reveal a mature competitor who understands where he is on the boxing ladder. His promoter, Ken Thompson, thinks he has his next contender. "[Herrera’s] been one of California's brightest prospects and we believe he has the potential of following in the footsteps of another California junior welterweight who became a world champion: Timothy Bradley.”

Mike Dallas Jr. - Nicknamed the “Silent Assassin,” Dallas is looking to make noise and reestablish himself as a prospect in the junior welterweight division. If you were not aware that Dallas’ favorite boxers are Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather Jr., you will get the association within seconds of his slipping the first punch. Born into a boxing family- his father and grandfather were pro fighters - Dallas began boxing while in diapers. Graduated the amateur system with a 115-12 record, winning several national titles (PAL champ and runner-up in the Golden Gloves) but had the annoying habit of finishing top four but rarely first. Claimed to be a victim of politics in the amateur system and after losing in the quarterfinals in the Olympic trials, turned pro. Last July, scored his biggest win, befuddling fellow prospect Lanard Lane with movement and intelligent counterpunching. In January, was surprisingly dominated by a mauling Josesito Lopez, unable to escape the incessant pressure of an inferior boxer. Employs a solid team, guided by Jackie Kallen, famed manager of James Toney, and signed a promotional contract with Goossen Tutor. In his big win over Lane, Dallas was not all about speed and reflexes, aggressively countering a naturally stronger foe up the middle. Gets that kind of confidence sparring Manny Pacquiao and other champions at the Wild Card Gym, while remaining under his father’s guidance as trainer. Needs to continue that positive offensive trend, Dallas only has a 37% kayo ratio and was heading in that direction stopping five of his last six victims. Needs to stop letting small openings go by in search of the flashy punch and start to fill holes with his speedy jab and lead right hand. Is a smart kid in and out of the ring, currently attending college, soaking up education of every sort. With continued improvement, Dallas could develop into a boxer in the mold of this weekend’s HBO headliner Devon Alexander. Has right attitude about his defeat and road back. "I just want to come back strong and I don't want to take any easy fights. I want to beat a really good opponent to get back in the mix. I've seen Herrera fight. He's a tough kid. He's got a lot of heart. It's gonna be a good match."

Verdict – Style-wise, Herrera is a lot like the Josesito Lopez who stopped Dallas in seven rounds. Can Herrera do the same and not give Dallas the room he needs to operate? Dallas is the better overall boxer but Herrera has the suffocating style to prevent Dallas from throwing enough punches to win on the scorecards. I see Herrera’s volume defeating Dallas’ accuracy and Dallas’ lack of power means Herrera can come forward at will. I thought Herrera lost closely to Provodnikov but admired his determination and refusal to disengage a more powerful opponent. When Dallas was faced with that kind of opponent, he wilted and I expect the same again with a ninth round stoppage in favor of Herrera.

Prediction record for 2011: 86% (94-15)
Prediction record for 2010: 85% (218-40)

You can contact Marty at or visit him at .

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