Experienced heavyweight contender and former two-time world title challenger Eric Molina, 27-5(19) is ready to fight the “fight of my life” against unbeaten, red-hot prospect/contender Filip Hrgovic on the massive Ruiz-Joshua II card in Saudi Arabia.
Having put a long number of months of “frustration” behind him, 37 year old Molina is ready to put on the fight people will remember him for.
Here, “The Drummer Boy” speaks exclusively with ESB:
Q: How much have you seen of Hrgovic, 9-0(7)? Plenty of experts have said he is one of the most promising up and coming heavyweights in years.
Eric Molina: “I’ve seen a couple of his fights; everything there is of him on YouTube. But to be honest with you, before I got the call for the fight I had no idea about him at all. But I’ve had good notice for this fight – I’m used to getting short notice for fights all my career – but for this I’ll have had eight weeks, so I’m not complaining. That’s enough time for me to make sure I’m ready.”
Q: The fight and the card is of course set for Saudi Arabia. Have you ever been there before?
E.M: “I’ve never been in that part of the world before. I’m super excited. This fight, this event, is the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ of our time, of our era. This is an iconic fight and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I really can’t put into words how much this means to me. I’m super-motivated!”
Q: You deserve some good news of course, after that long ban for supposedly taking PEDs. You had it very harsh as you know all too well.
E.M: “You know, they extended my ban for a month but in a press release they put out, they finally wrote how I had not tested for a performance enhancing drug – they finally admitted it. It was a crazy ban, a bad time for me. But it’s water under the bridge, I’m not the type to complain. But it was a dark time for me, so frustrating. I had to sit idle all this time and see other fighters get popped for illegal stimulants and then be back fighting after a couple of months. But I look at all I’ve been through as motivation. I’m focusing on the positive. I can see the world seeing the very best Eric Molina in this fight. This is the fight I will be remembered for.
“What I’m doing every day in training, I’m so confident. I respect this kid, he’s an Olympian, but again, I’ve never been more motivated going into a fight. It’s like I’ve been kept in the cage for two years and I’ll be let out of the cage in Saudi Arabia in December. I’m so ready for this fight! I look at the time I have been kept out of the ring as healing time, my body is rested and my mind is clear.”
Q: It goes wothout saying how a win over Hrgovic would be massive for you.
E.M: “Yeah, but no fight has ever changed my life. This sport, it’s never been about the money. I’m a public servant, teaching kids with special needs. No fight has ever made me or changed me. I had to go to war with Don King, with my manager, over money due to the ban, but this fight, I said they could have whatever money they wanted. This was the easiest and quickest fight to make; it was made in a matter of hours. I don’t want to sound over-confident, but I’m so up for this fight. This is about my legacy.”
Q: Finally, how do you see the big one going – can Joshua get revenge over Ruiz?
E.M: “I do think he can do it, yes. I don’t think Joshua will be dumb enough to fight the same fight as last time. I think he’ll come with a different style, he’ll make the adjustments. I think he’ll be careful on the inside and be effective on the outside. I might be wrong but I think he’ll get the win this time.”