With both boxers in search of at least one more big fight in the twilight of their respective careers, Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr. instead turn to each other for their next in-ring payday.
The pair of California-based ring veterans will collide on September 30 in a 12-round bout that will air on FS1 live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. News of the welterweight crossroads bout was announced Thursday afternoon by Premier Boxing Champions through its press office.
"We've known each other a long time and we're both always in exciting battles, so fans should expect nothing less on September 30," said Ortiz (32-6-3, 25KOs), a former welterweight titlist who was last seen in the ring battling Devon Alexander to a 12-round draw in February. "I had a broken eye socket from an injury in the second round of the Alexander fight, but I'm feeling 100 percent now.
"I'm ready to take what is rightfully mine, and that's another world title down the road. It's going to be a war from round one and I can't wait."
Such a mentality is precisely why event handlers put together this main event, which will compete on air with NFL Sunday Night Football.
Ortiz has been through his ups and downs in his career, but also well regarded for his all-action style. Among the highlights in his pro run was his off-the-canvas title-winning points win over Andre Berto in their April '11 thriller. The hard-hitting southpaw wasn't as fortunate in their April '16 rematch live on Fox TV, suffering two knockdowns after dropping Berto early as he was stopped in four rounds.
A rust-shaking win over Saul Corral (FS1) and the aforementioned draw to Alexander (Fox) have since followed, with this bout making it four straight on the Fox/FS1 circuit which also housed his opponent's most recent ring appearance.
Molina Jr. (30-7, 24KOs) was thought to have been done with the game—or at least the game done with him—following a brutally one-sided stoppage loss to then 140-pound king Terence Crawford in Dec. '16. The Californian earned the opportunity with an upset win over Ruslan Provodnikov earlier that year, but with the humbling defeat just the latest in a post-prime run that included three straight losses to Lucas Matthysse (albeit in the 2014 Fight of the Year), Humberto Soto and Adrien Broner.
There proved to be a little bit of tread left on his worn out tires, however, as Molina Jr. climbed off the deck to drop and stop Ivan Redkach in the 4th round of their thriller last December live on FS1. It was unclear at the time whether it was one last call and the 35-year old going out on a high note, or leading to at least one more night under the bright lights.
This latest bit of news provided the answer to that mystery.
"I respect Victor and everything he's accomplished in this game, but I know that I have the tools to overcome everything he does," said Molina. "Everyone knows that I'm in it to win it. We're both going to be ready to mix it up and throw bombs. There is no way that I see this fight going the distance. It's going to come down to heart and I'm going to be there until final bell."
Regardless of the outcome, the action should be entertaining for as long as it lasts.
"Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr. has war written all over it and should be another in a long line of memorable battles featuring these Southern California fan-favorites," said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports, who co-promotes the event along with TGB Promotions. "These two men are known for leaving it all in the ring and giving the fans incredible action from the opening bell. I have no doubt that this will be another outstanding showdown, with the winner setting themselves up for even bigger things in the star-studded welterweight division."