Premier Boxing Champions has announced that John Molina Jr. retired after a storied professional boxing career that lasted 13 years. Molina, 36, one of the true gladiators of the sport, announced his retirement on Tuesday. Molina retired in the wake of last week's loss to Josesito Lopez. He finishes with a record of 30-9 (24 KOs), having faced a number of elite fighters from lightweight to welterweight. “I was never the most technical sound or the fastest guy,” said Molina. “But my heart and will to fight was second to none. And I had a helluva punch. If I hit it you with it, it pulled the fight out of the fire on more than one occasion.”
Born and raised in Covina, California, Molina grew up around boxing. His father, John Sr., and grandfather Ysidro were both amateur fighters. John Jr. eventually followed in their footsteps, beginning his amateur career in 2002. He would compile a 22-2 record and won the California Golden Gloves.
In March 2006, Molina made his pro debut, scoring a second-round KO of Lester Balmores in Maywood, California. His reputation quickly grew as a fearless puncher who refused to back down. Never was that more obvious than in July 2013, when he scored a come-from-behind knockout of Mickey Bey in the tenth and final frame.
Then in April 2014, he and Lucas Matthysse engaged in a battle for the ages. Molina came up on the losing end but the bout was one of the fights of the year. “That was my proudest moment,” Molina recalled. “I didn’t realize what had happened first. Then two days later, people that have been in the business for 30 years; writers, analysts, fighters, all began contacting me and telling me that they actually had to turn away from the fight because it was too gruesome to watch. That’s when I realized what we accomplished that night.”
Molina’s December 2017 war against Ivan Redkach was equally memorable. Redkach roared out of the gate, dropping Molina in the second. But “The Gladiator” would not be denied, returning the favor in the third and dropping Redkach again in the fourth to win via TKO.
Last Saturday, Molina had his moments versus former world title challenger Josesito Lopez, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. He would lose via eighth-round TKO. The performance is what prompted him to hang up the gloves. “I take nothing away from Josesito Lopez, he’s a great fighter,” said Molina. “I don’t want anyone to think I’m blaming my loss on being long in the tooth. Lopez was victorious because he was the better fighter. For me, there were times during exchanges where I reacted mentally, but physically my body felt like it was trying to keep up. My body didn’t respond at the level I wanted it to respond.”
Molina won’t reveal what he plans to do next but for now, his main priority is to spend time with his family, especially daughters Raenah, who turns seven in November, and three-year-old Riley. “There are things that I want to pursue, but I will announce that in that every near future,” he said. “Now I can spend time with my family, enjoy my daughters. You got to remember boxing is demanding both physically and mentally. So even physically when I was home, mentally I was checked out, because I was getting ready to go to war.”
“I don’t mean to sound cliché because I mean this wholeheartedly: I want to thank everyone for keeping me relevant. For watching my fights, however you supported me. Just know that I represented you guys, that dreams do come true. I heard a lot of ‘no’ before I heard that one ‘yes.’ I kept fighting and fighting and finally I got there. And by getting there I mean, being recognized on a world level. To where, when you heard my name mentioned in a fight, you knew that’s exactly what it was going to be: a fight.”
Boxingtalk joins PBC in wishing Molina all the best in future endeavors.