As the follow up to his impressive win in January against the more experienced Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21KOs) to win the much coveted WBC World Heavyweight Title belt, Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32KOs) is prepped today to defend his WBC Championship title against Eric Molina (23-2, 17KOs) at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to be broadcast live on Showtime 9pm ET/ 6pm PT.
While Wilder is the clear favorite against the lesser known Molina, Molina is more than used to pulling valuable strength from being the underdog. In keeping with some extremely celebrated assumed also rans before him, he relishes the chance to use the barb to spur him to an outsized victory. “My career has been all about determination, strength and struggles,” said an undaunted Molina. “Other boxers, including Bernard Hopkins, lost their first fights and went on to win a world title,” he continued adding, “bottom line is I am not trying to convince anybody who I am, I just want people to see who the real Eric Molina is.” Molina then went on to suggest that his career, with it’s blemishes is more mentally fortified than Wilder’s in that with Molina’s first professional fight having been a loss, Mr. Molina knows that he can fight back and fight back well from adversity.
As for Wilder, when it comes to the mental blessing versus curse vis a vis fighting in his home town of Alabama, Wilder claims only advantage.” I’m ready to get this party started and welcome Molina to Alabama,” stated Wilder. “ My team handles all the distractions (fighting from home). I’ve got a wonderful team… I’m most dangerous when I’m at home,” finished Wilder on the subject. Indeed, Wilder’s sights are hard set on continuing to do bigger and better things in Alabama over the usual fight destination hubs of Las Vegas, Los Angeles or New York. “We got a lot of fights we want to do in Alabama, and this is just the start. I want to move on from Bartow to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), which is bigger than the MGM Grand,” said an excited and home proud Wilder.
As to the question of Wilder’s full use of his physicality as a fighter, much has been made of his having hit his last opponent Stiverne so hard that Wilder bent the metal rods in his own surgically repaired hand in the early rounds of that championship title fight. However, Wilder is all assurances that he has healed well enough to perform and deliver well against Molina in defending his title in a manner to continue to ignite the fans. “ My hand is fine. We tested it yesterday,” Said a confident and untroubled Wilder. Indeed, seemingly to counter the manner in which Molina garners strength from deficiencies in his record, Wilder in remunerating his injuries going into fighting Stiverne would seem to match or rival Molina with regard to culling strength from apparent mishap: “when you go to battle you're going to do everything you have to do to win. That wasn't the only injury (other than his hand against Stiverne), “ said Wilder, citing fighting Stiverne with only one eye due to a fluke training accident days beforehand. “ That’s what champions are made of…through adversity anything is possible if you have the will,” concluded Wilder.
Hopefully, we will be seeing a well-matched battle of wills and physical acumen between two determined champions today in what could be a magical night in Alabama.
Written by Kylie Krabbe
Photos by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime