Molina still jailed in Las Vegas, but promoter says he’ll fight again

Carlos Molina has been incarcerated more than two weeks at the Clark County Detention Center, and he may remain locked up a while longer. But his promoter believes Molina’s boxing career is not finished.

Molina, the IBF junior middleweight champion, was arrested March 4 after arriving at the MGM Grand for what was supposed to be his first title defense, scheduled for March 8 against Jermall Charlo. There was an outstanding warrant from Wisconsin for Molina’s failure to register as a sex offender. Upon his arrest, it was found that Molina was in the United States illegally after being deported in 2006.

Molina, 30, faces an April 8 extradition hearing on the Wisconsin warrant. He’s also facing a deportation hearing at some point with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Leon Margules, who is Molina’s promoter, said Tuesday the fighter can pick up the pieces of his career and return to the ring — even if it means fighting outside the U.S. for the remainder of it.

“I’m confident that he’ll be able to continue his boxing career,” Margules said. “The question is when and where?”

Margules, who is a practicing attorney in Florida, has not spoken to Molina since the day after his arrest. Margules said CCDC officials will not allow him to speak one-on-one with the fighter because he is not licensed to practice law in Nevada. Local attorney Warren Geller has been retained to help Molina sort through his Wisconsin issues and Margules communicates with Molina through Geller. In addition, Molina has hired the Orange, Calif., law firm Wilner & O’Reilly to help him with his ICE issues.

As far as boxing goes, Molina also has a date with the IBF. April 14 marks seven months since he won the title from Las Vegas’ Ishe Smith and on that date, a 30-day period begins where Molina (22-5-2, 6 knockouts) must make a deal to fight Cornelius Bundrage, the former IBF champ and the No. 1 mandatory challenger. Smith won the title from Bundrage in Detroit in February, 2013.

But whether that fight gets made depends on Molina putting his legal issues behind him.

“We’re working with attorneys in Wisconsin and the authorities there to try and get a deal done before April 8 so Carlos can put that matter to rest,” Geller said. “If not, we’ll proceed with the hearing on April 8.”

Geller said Molina is being kept away from the general population in an isolated area at the detention center. Being a professional athlete, he enjoys a level of celebrity status and Geller said jail officials isolated Molina for his own safety, Molina gets one hour a day for exercise before returning to his cell.

If Molina does get the Wisconsin matter settled and he is ultimately deported, it would not be impossible for him to fight again in the U.S. He would require a special work visa however and given his history with ICE, that could be difficult to obtain. But he could fight in Mexico or some other country that would allow him entry.

“The sad thing is, Carlos is as American as you and me,” Margules said. “He spent all but three years in the United States. He doesn’t know Mexico. But he made some poor decisions in his life when he was 18 and he is still having to deal with that.”

Geller said Molina is trying to stay positive through it all.

“He’s handling it as well as can be expected,” Geller said of Molina’s demeanor, which he described as stoic. “He’s very disappointed he couldn’t defend his title but he understands it’s a process and he does want to resume his boxing career as soon as possible.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at 70-387-2913 or scarp@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.