By Sean Wippert ringside in Las Vegas: Sometimes in boxing it only takes a single punch to change everything. For those involved when this happens its shocking and often very disorienting for the combatants. The crowd adds to this sudden euphoria, often screaming and shouting as though their voices will somehow change the outcome of what just occurred. Tonight was Mickey Bey’s turn to experience this.
Unfortunately for the lightweight prodigy it happened not just when he was winning, but when he was dominating and less than a minute away from sending to a decision. To understand just how shocking this ending really was you have to know how it came to be.
Bey opened the fight with a very slick, elusive jab attack. The Cleveland, Ohio fighter made it a point to set the tone of the fight as a boxing match against his less technical opponent John “The Gladiator” Molina. The tactic not only worked, it seemed to defuse a lot of the early offense Molina threw at him. Molina would charge in looking for a shot, Bey would pepper him with shots and vanish. This was the basic scenario that repeated itself in the first few rounds.
By the fourth round Bey’s elusive offense was turning into a serious issue for Molina. He was taking a lot of unanswered shots and in addition, Bey it seemed had found his timing. He was not only hitting Molina, he had begun beating him to the punch, hitting him almost at will before leaving prior to any response. In essence, the middle rounds of the fight were a speedier version of what had occurred in the opening. They also seemed to be a template for what was to occur in the later rounds.
The amount of offensive and defensive success that Bey was having up through the seventh round of the fight had begun to show and for good reason. He had done a lot of damage and had little in return. He was in complete control and seemed to know it. Maybe it was this or maybe something his corner had told him, but in the eighth round Bey began turning from a hit and move mentality to just a hit mentality. The man who had spent round after round acting like a boxer suddenly wanted to slug it out. This change in tactic did work through the round and on into the ninth.