Two of Mayweather Promotions’ prospects lightweight Mickey “The Spirit” Bey Jr. and world-rated super middleweight Badou Jack, will try to keep their unbeaten records intact when they face John “The Gladiator” Molina Jr. and Farah “Quiet Storm’’ Ennis,respectively at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Friday.
Both bouts will be broadcast on Showtime’sThe New Generation live this Friday, July 19 (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from The Joint
Bey, a former amateur standout from Las Vegas by way of Cleveland, is 18-0-1 with 9 KO’s. Molina (25-3, 20 KO’s) is a former world title challenger from Covina, Calif. Sweden’s Jack, a 2008 Olympian for Gambia who also resides in Las Vegas, is 14-0 with 10 KO’s. Philadelphia born-and-raised Ennis (21-2, 12 KO’s) is a former NABF champion who’s won four in a row. Both bouts are scheduled for 10 rounds.
The 5-foot-9 Bey was a sensational amateur, a four-time national champion and a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. He was unable to complete in the Olympic Qualifiers or Olympic Games, however, after he became ill with pneumonia after winning the Olympic Box-Offs.
Expectations were extremely high when Bey turned pro in April 2005, but his career has sputtered. Now, under the Mayweather Promotions banner, the eight-year pro seems primed for his best. A terrific boxer-puncher, he was sharp and dominant in his debut as a member of The Money Team last Feb. 2, winning his first fight in 15 months by impressive third-round knockout over Robert Rodriguez in Las Vegas.
However, the fight was later ruled a no-contest because Bey tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. It was a bitter setback for Bey, who maintains his innocence. While it is easy to look back, Bey has moved on and his focus is now totally on Molina. A convincing victory, he knows, will get him on track to the top.
“I should have been champion many years ago,” said Bey, who’s been reunited with his original trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. “When I’m on point, there isn’t anybody who can hang in there with me. It’s just a relief to be signed with Mayweather Promotions, who’s got my best interest in mind on every level. You’re going to see better performances out of me just because of that.
“I think John Molina is a good fighter, tough and strong. He’s got a lot of punching power and he’s got a lot of knockouts. I think he’s a real solid opponent. He’s not the best technically, skill-wise, but he’s got experience and a lot of power. That’s always dangerous, although I’ve got a great defense. People fought him thinking they would beat him and left with a KO on their record. That’s one thing I’m aware of.
"I think it’s a great matchup. We went through a lot of tough opponents who wouldn’t take the fight, so I’m just glad he took it.”
For all his natural talent, Bey knows that dedication and work ethic are major keys to getting to where he wants to be. “I’m always in the gym. I work out all year round, even if it’s not actually boxing,” he said. “I don’t really do too much but train. Ninety percent of the time, everything I do involves some kind of working out. I’m a fitness freak and an all-around athlete. I’ve been preparing for this fight for (almost two months).”
The older brother of pro fighter Cortez Bey, Mickey Bey possesses good skills, speed, and movement. The sharp, accurate puncher will be making his third appearance on ShoBox and first since February 2008. He says he doesn’t study a lot of tape on upcoming opponents, but likes to watch videos of old fighters.
“I’m always watching tapes of guys like Ray Robinson,” he said. “I like Sugar Ray Leonard, Salvador Sanchez, Muhammad Ali, Jersey Joe Walcott andWillie Pep. I get a lot of different things from different fighters just by watching a lot. Tommy Hearns, too.
“It has a whole lot of influence on my style because I see a lot of things that they did back then that fighters don’t do today. I think that boxing is a lost art now, where a lot of fighters really don’t study the game. They can’t even name a lot of old fighters.
“I feel that if this is the sport that you’re in, then you should know a lot about the history of boxing. I think Ray Robinson has influenced my style more than the others because I stay glued to him. I’ve been watching him since even before I started boxing. I watched his tapes for months straight every day and I still do. I’ll watch his tapes at least eight days a month because I’ve got his whole DVD collection.”