As fans know, the crunch rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been postponed, again, this time for three weeks. Now set to take place on the island of Gibraltar on March 27, the delay of the Matchroom card came as no real surprise to Eric Molina. 38-year-old Molina, who will face unbeaten British heavyweight talent Fabio Wardley, 10-0(9) on the under-card, told ESB yesterday how he felt there might have been “an issue with the March 6 date, because as of today, I’ve had no travel itinerary details sent over.”
Molina, kindly taking the time to talk, said the extra three weeks will “absolutely” be to his advantage. Molina, 27-6(19) and having his first fight back since being stopped by Filip Hrgovic in December of 2019, said the added time he has been given has actually given him “chills,” and he is looking forward to giving it everything he has on March 27.
Q: How had training been going for the Wardley fight, before you got news of the postponement?
Eric Molina: “Things have been tough here in Texas. We’ve been hit really bad by the coronavirus and last week we were hit by freezing cold weather and snow. So many people lost their electricity, there were blackouts, grocery stores were empty. Almost everything shut down. That said, there was no way I would have pulled out of the fight. I’d actually had some good training sessions – often by myself. I’d just go to the gym, by myself, turn on the light, and start training. I told Eddie [Hearn] when he got me this fight, I’m a man of my word. But now, with three extra weeks to train, this is definitely to my advantage.
“I had Covid like five weeks ago and it took me two weeks to get over it. That’s when I began training, by myself. I’d say that, in fact, after testing positive for Covid, it took me a full month to get fully match fit. I tell you, Covid is no joke. It’s a terrible thing. I’ve lost some good people, people that would sit at ringside and watch me fight. Covid has done a lot of damage. But now, this fight, I’m ready to give it everything. I want people to say at the end of the fight, ‘Wow, that guy can still fight.’ The things I’ve gone through last year and early this year, they’ve made me think I don’t even care about winning or losing. There are way bigger things in the world. Either way, I’ll be back at work at my day job afterwards. But I’m so confident going into this fight. Maybe Wardley will go on to be great, but I’m going to be testing him. The stuff I’ve been working on in the gym, how to set traps for him, to give his angles and punch from angles. I’m so looking forward to this fight. I’ve actually got chills.”
Q: You felt it might have been time to call it a career after the loss to Filip Hrgovic?
E.M: “I was sat in the dressing room and I was thinking, maybe I can’t hang with these young guys now. For that fight, the stuff we had tweaked as far as my style, they just didn’t work. So yeah, I was giving it [retiring] some serious thought. But I must tell you, Hrgovic is the real deal. He is so tough. I am certain he will be a world champion this year, if he’s given the opportunity. But for me, for this fight, there will be no excuses. I’m so inspired to go out and inspire people myself. At age 38, with whatever I have left, this is my last stance. I’ve always been dedicated to the sport, working a day job and training at the same time. That’s some of the stuff fans don’t get to see. For some fights, I had a good training camp, for other fights, a short camp, and not so good. For the Anthony Joshua fight, I had five weeks and that included two trips to England. I couldn’t get into any kind of a rhythm. The trainer I should have had, he was stuck in Cuba. I literally got some friends of mine, and I said, ‘here, hold the bag for me.”‘
Q: You have a big edge in experience over Wardley, having been in with Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tomasz Adamek, Hrgovic. Wardley himself says this is the biggest test of his career so far.
E.M: “The Adamek camp, of ten weeks, was one of my best. Yeah, I do have experience. Wardley might look to bring it, or he might try to box me. I’m here to prove that I’ve still got it at age 38. You’ve seen young guys get upset by older fighters before. I feel real good for this fight, especially now with the extra time, and I’m gonna be ready for whatever he brings. I’m looking to use the Covid situation – which really has changed the world in so many ways – as inspiration and I’m looking forward to showing my counter-punching and my all-round punching ability. Let’s see how good Wardley is. As I said, there will be no excuses in this fight.”