THIS time three years ago it was Eric Molina – and not Andy Ruiz Jnr – who was the heavyweight underdog heading into a showdown with Anthony Joshua. Molina was mere cannon fodder as the Englishman warmed up his weapons for the threat of Wladimir Klitschko, who was sitting ringside that night at the Manchester Arena. The Ukrainian was announced as Joshua’s next opponent the moment Joshua bulleted through Molina with ease inside three rounds in December 2016.
The Texan’s fortunes haven’t got any better since. Known as a durable gatekeeper-cum-contender prior, thanks largely for lasting into the ninth round with WBC Deontay Wilder in 2015, he achieved infamy when it emerged that he had failed a post-fight drug test for dexamethasone. His excuse was a familiar one – he didn’t know the banned substance was an ingredient in a B12 vitamin supplement that was purchased over the counter in Mexico – and his punishment was far too late in being administered (it was May 2018 before he received a two-year ban from United Kingdom Anti-Doping, dating back to October 2017).
Molina was furious with his treatment from UKAD. He felt he was made a scapegoat. He said what he took was an anti-inflammatory and not an anabolic steroid, as was claimed. And he certainly had a point when he told Boxing News that the punishment coming 18 months after the test was ridiculous.