Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Artemio Reyes upset 2008 US Olympian Javier Molina for the first time in the latter’s professional career by fighting a smart fight, maintaining a good work-rate and looking the superior boxer when battling on the inside – where the majority of this contest was fought. The bout took place at The Grand Ballroom in Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Friday, October 28.
Judges verdict: 77-75, 78-74, 78-74; unanimous decision for Reyes.
Former member of the US Olympic boxing team, Javier Molina – whose professional development was interrupted for one year due to hand injuries between 2009 and ’10 – continues his journey in the paid ranks in an eight round welterweight battle against fellow prospect and naturally heavier Artemio Reyes, who registered just one defeat prior to fight night.
From round one, Molina boxed with good pop in his jab. He was light on his feet, which he needed to be as he moved in circles around the ring’s periphery. He relinquished control of the ring to Reyes who applied pressure with forward steps, lead left jabs, wild and looping left hooks (which missed) and occasional right cross shots. Reyes also sent in a body shot from time to time. Whilst Reyes was undoubtedly the aggressor, his positive output was effectively offset by Molina’s command of distance.
A known body-puncher, Reyes again dug shots into Molina’s rib-cage within the opening minute of the second stanza. Posing a problem for Molina, Reyes appeared to have found his range and was able to take the necessary step inside to ensure his punches connected. Molina enjoyed success with right and left hands over the top. An inside exchange ensued in the final 30 seconds, which favoured only one man – Reyes.
Californian 25-year-old Reyes, displayed a good work-rate in round three, pummeling Molina with left jabs, short-range uppercuts and right hooks to the body (that were mostly thwarted by Molina tucking his elbows in and protecting his midsection). In the final minute of the third, Reyes even began extending and lingering his right hand out in order to tee up with his left. Molina’s main assets of foot movement and boxing ability were negated efficiently by Reyes’ insistence on taking the fight to close quarters.
Molina managed to re-establish some kind of authority in the beginning of the fourth round as he slammed his right hand into Reyes’ cheek. Again, though, Molina was sucked into fighting a contest that benefited his opponent as he was drawn into the pocket. Reyes worked the body, then the head, with Molina seldom gaining the upper hand.
Molina landed his most meaningful punch of the fifth when he countered Reyes with a crafty left hook. Reyes’ right hand proved an effective punch and, by pushing Molina backfoot, showed that any success Molina thought he had was brief as he assumed the role of submissive to Reyes’ dominance with the body shot, the close-range exchange and the fact it was his type of fight. Molina, pre-fight, expressed his gameplan of boxing-and-moving but, aside from good form in round one, showed an inability to put his tactic into practice.
Reyes’ uppercutting with his right hand landed with aplomb in the sixth. His point-blank left hooks careered into Molina’s temple and the undefeated 21-year-old was all too often defenceless against shots unleashed from short distances. When Molina became a more mobile fighter in the seventh, he was abe to evade Reyes’ fists, however, Reyes’ overall power, dictation of pace, ability to close the gap and take the fight to the inside, ensured he took the eighth and the contest.
With the victory, Artemio Reyes stormed to 14-1-0, 11ko while Molina cannon-balled to 9-1-0, 4ko.