Joshua v molina betting beware the beat of the drummer boy

← Homepage



It's been a bad week for backing favourites. I knew I should have cashed out when Manchester City were beating Chelsea but I didn't. And with that experience I should have put my finger on that wonderful Cash Out button again the next day when Liverpool were two goals up at Bournemouth, but I didn't do that either.

But that's not the only reason I'm deeply suspicious of seeing Anthony Joshua as a [1.05] favourite to retain his IBF World Heavyweight title when he meets Eric Molina in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

I know why he should win. He was due to fight Wladimir Klitschko before the former champ got injured, and there's no way Eddie Hearn would risk setting up an alternative contest that his goldmine fighter might lose.

It didn't augur well for Molina that when I began to Google his name, it offered me Eric Morecambe before Eric Molina came up. Something about all the right punches but not necessarily in the right order came to mind.

But the more I've looked into the background of the 34-year-old from Texas, who went to Poland in April to knock out Tomasz Adamek in his last fight, the more I'd get nervous about backing Joshua at such skinny odds.

Molina, also known as The Drummer Boy, is not your average fighter. He didn't even take up the sport until he was 23 when he wanted to do something to lose weight and joined a gym. They found a talent nobody could have expected, and even though he lost his debut professional fight he's put together 25 wins from 27 contests since.

He's not all that great at maths, mind. In a recent interview he said "before I fought Deontay Wilder I had only 35 days to train, and this time I will have five weeks." Five times seven days is 35, or it was when I went to school, so I'm not sure about that one.

But anyway, whatever number of days were involved, it is clear is that in his biggest fight so far against Wilder he was under prepared. At the time he was still doing his day job as a special needs teacher. He'd finish school at 16:30, train at 17:00, run at midnight, then get up and do it all again next day.

That persuaded him to take a year off and dedicate himself totally to his one chance of earning a world title shot, and he'll step into the ring on Saturday with that burning motivation.

The one thing he does own is a huge punch. He rattled Wilder with it in the third round of their contest, and it is the thing which will present a danger to Joshua's growing status as the new golden boy of British boxing.

Joshua has blown through his career so far like a whirlwind, winning all 17 contests by stoppages and never yet being taken beyond the seventh round. He is [1.5] in the Grouped Round Betting to get this one over and done with by the end of the third.

That's all very well, but there are plenty of critics who question the people he's fought. And what we don't know is whether he can take one big punch if Molina finds a way through early on. "One shot, one kill" is Molina's message on social media and as Lee Selby pointed out in his Betfair Big Interview, that is the worry which will haunt Joshua - and even more Hearn - when the first bell goes.

I think Molina could make it tough, even if I'm not sure I want to back him at [17.5] in the Match Odds. But I do think he could make Joshua work to win, and [6.0] for the home hero to win between rounds seven and nine looks a possible outcome.

You can read Frank Monkhouse's comprehensive Joshua v Molina Betting Preview behind the link.