Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, who has a perfect boxing record, stated during Media Day Workouts last Thursday that “I’m the world’s most wanted,” meaning that every boxer who wants a shot at winning the WBC crown and championship belt has set as his goal defeating Wilder. That is easier said than done, as Wilder has an unblemished record of 33-0, with 32 of his victories coming by KO, but Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina believes he has what it takes to beat Wilder when they face each other Saturday, June 13. The boxing match will take place on Showtime in Birmingham, Alabama, at Bartow Arena (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
At separate Media Day Workouts in different cities, Wilder in Northport, Alabama and Molina in Weslaco, Texas, and the unbeaten junior lightweight Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza at a Media Day Workouts event in Cidra, Puerto Rico, the three boxers met with the press and gave out quotes like the champ’s “world’s most wanted” one.
The WBC Heavyweight World Champion title fight and the other fight on the card, between Puerto Rico native Pedraza, who has a record of 19-0, with 12 of his wins coming by KOs, and Russian-born Andrey Klimov, who has a record of 19-1, with 9 of his victories coming by KOs, will be for the IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship, which is currently vacant and up for grabs. The bouts will be held in Wilder’s home state of Alabama.
Wilder called it a “blessing’ to be able to fight in his home state, and “to finally get the opportunity to have a major fight in the state of Alabama.” Wilder said that his “heart is here” and he added that “This is just the beginning.”
Doing a little bit of trash talking, Wilder referred to Molina as being like “a rabbit.” He said of Molina “I know he’s going to be nervous and scared, but they say if you back a rabbit in a corner, they fight back.” He also spoke about eventually moving on from Bartow Arena, where the title fight will be held, “to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), which is bigger than the MGM Grand.”
Though Wilder seemed confident that he will defeat Molina, he did admit that there was always a danger involved when boxing when a title is up for grabs. He stated “Every fight is a dangerous fight when I’m putting the belt on the line, and I train as if everyone is a world champion.”
Molina said of his chance at the Heavyweight World Champion Title that “This is the fight that we dream about when we first lace on the gloves and I am extremely excited about the opportunity to fight for the biggest prize in sports, the WBC heavyweight title.”
Though Molina is fully aware that he will be entering into “a hostile environment, fighting in basically his backyard,” he still insists “I’m confident I can win the title.” Molina said that people “know Wilder can punch but they are underestimating the power that I possess.”
Molina has lost two times, including his very first boxing match, but he believes that he will persevere and be victorious against Wilder. He stated “What people don’t know about me is that my career has been all about determination, strength and struggles. Other boxers, including Bernard Hopkins, lost their first fights and went on to win a world title. I’ve learned a lot from my two losses and now I have the confidence to accomplish anything.”
Molina stated that he feels like “I could hurt him.” He further stated “This is going to be a great fight, much, much better than many may be expecting, and I am ready.”
Unbeaten Junior Lightweight Contender Jose Pedraza said that whenever he fights, he fights “for the honor of my people.” He stated that he “cannot afford to let them down. I won’t let Puerto Rico down. I’ll come back a champion.”
Pedraza talked about what “a great opportunity” it was for him to be fighting for the vacant IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship title on Showtime. He said that winning his last fight, against Michael Farenas, led to his boxing match against Andrey Klimov and the chance to win the title.
Though Pedraza admits that Klimov “is a strong boxer,” he saw when Klimov fought against Terrence Crawford that “he has problems when he fights a left-handed boxer with good movement.” Pedraza said that on June 13, he “will be a new champ,” and he plans to defend his title two times before moving up to the next weight class, at 135 pounds.
The phrase that Deontay Wilder spoke on Media Day Workouts about being “the most wanted man” is an apt one. There are a lot of boxers who would jump at the opportunity to have a title fight against Wilder, and Pedraza, if he is victorious on Saturday, June 13. The two boxing matches on Showtime are shaping up to be exciting, and possibly future classics.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Showtime Press Release
Photo of Deontay Wilder Courtesy of Showtime and Bill Hoffman
Photo of Eric Molina Courtesy of Showtime and Joel Martinez
Photo of Jose Pedraza Courtesy Victor Planas/Universal Promotions