While the rain was coming down around Las Vegas on Friday night, it was raining punches inside the Hard Rock Hotel along with a mix of thunder and lightning, courtesy of John Molina and Mickey Bey.
The two lightweights waged war for nine-plus rounds before Molina caught Bey with a huge left hook, then swarmed all over him in the latter stages of the final round before referee Vic Drakulich stopped it with 59 seconds to go in the fight, giving Molina a stunning technical knockout victory.
“I knew I was behind, but we got the job done,” said Molina, who improved to 26-3 with 21 knockouts. “I knew we were fighting an uphill battle fighting him in his hometown with his promoter (Floyd Mayweather Jr.) running the card.”
Bey (18-1-1, nine KOs, one no contest) was ahead on all three scorecards — 90-81, 89-82, 88-83 — as the 10th round began, and it appeared he was on his way to remaining undefeated.
Early in the final round, he landed a left to the body that appeared to hurt Molina. But if Molina was hurt, he wasn’t showing it. He came back with a left of his own, and when Bey was taking too many punches, Drakulich stopped the fight.
“I can’t take credit away from Molina, but it was a gift win,” Bey said. “The ref should never have stopped that fight. I wasn’t out on my feet.
“(Drakulich) was in my ear all night, telling me to stop doing this and stop doing that. It was really distracting. It was like I was fighting two guys — Molina and the ref.”
Molina crowded Bey throughout and prevented him from getting the distance he wanted to outbox him. Yet Bey was still able to dominate most of the rounds, and all he had to do was stay out of trouble for the final three minutes.
But he couldn’t, and he paid a high price because of it.
“We had to let him get a little cocky,” Molina said of Bey’s good shot early in the 10th before he responded. “Then we moved in and got him. It was a veteran move.”
For Bey, it was one more chapter in a very tough 2013. He had his Feb. 2 win over Robert Rodriguez changed to a no contest after he tested positive for an abnormally high testosterone level for which he was suspended three months by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
He was going to fight Jose Hernandez on May 4, but he hurt his right hand two weeks before the fight and had to pull out. Now, he loses for the first time in his career.
“It’s boxing. Things happen,” Bey said. “But I’ll bounce back.”
In the co-feature, super middleweight Badou Jack found himself in uncharted waters as he too went 10 rounds for the first time in his career in banging out a unanimous decision over Farah Ennis.
Judge Robert Hoyle called it 100-90, while C.J. Ross and Adalaide Byrd had Jack ahead 98-92.
“He didn’t want to fight,” Jack said. “I had to be more of a counter-puncher. But it was good to get the work in. I could’ve gone 15 rounds.”
Jack (15-0, 10 KOs) worked the body effectively and used his jab to keep Ennis off him. But he was unable to knock out Ennis (21-2, 12 KOs), and he wasn’t happy about that.
“I always want the knockout,” Jack said. “But this was good for me. I had to be patient and not get careless, so I learned something.”
Also on the undercard, Las Vegas’ Andrew Tabiti had a successful professional debut as he stopped Andrew Howk just 42 seconds into their four-round cruiserweight bout.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.