World light-middleweight boxing champion Carlos Molina of Chicago remained jailed in Las Vegas on Friday, unable to keep his scheduled Saturday night co-main event title defense against unbeaten Jermall Charlo at MGM Grand.
Instead of having a shot to be the next opponent of main-event fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico, International Boxing Federation champion Molina faces questioning from immigration officials with the prospect of deportation possible, according to his attorney and promoter.
Chicago’s Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) was arrested Tuesday on a sex-offender warrant issued in 2007, promoter Leon Margules said.
It appeared late Thursday as if Molina would be released after Margules said he posted $10,000 bond for the fighter, but the immigration questions were raised again and stopped the exit processing, Margules said. That barred Molina from Friday afternoon's mandatory weigh-in for the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Sgt. Dave Lund of the Appleton police department in Wisconsin said Molina was convicted of a sex crime in 2001, in Outagamie County, and later failed to register as a sex offender, prompting the extraditable warrant.
“I don’t know how it works in Nevada, but he wouldn’t be fighting in Wisconsin,” Lund said.
Molina on Thursday was on his way to being sprung from jail after Charlo’s high-powered boxing manager Al Haymon worked to assist Molina’s cause, according to two boxing officials close to the situation.
Molina was then re-arrested when questions about his immigration status surfaced, fight promoter Richard Schaefer said.
“I don’t know why that was ever an issue,” Margules said. “He’s lived here since he was 4.”
Following his 2001 sex crime, Molina forgot to re-register as a sex offender, prompting the warrant, Margules said.
“It wasn’t like he was fleeing,” Margules said. “He’s fought all over the country, at big events, like the 'Canelo'-Floyd Mayweather fight,” in September, the most lucrative pay-per-view fight in boxing history.
So why did someone come after him now?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Margules said late Thursday night, when it appeared Molina was again in position to be released. “Someone can probably come up with conspiracy theories, but I don’t know.”
Margules said Clark County jail officials told him when he posted bond that Molina would be released within four to 20 hours from 6 p.m. Pacific time Thursday. That didn't happen.
With Molina-Charlo scrapped, a lightweight bout between Alvarez’s brother, Ricardo (23-2-3), and Sergio Thompson (28-3, 26 KOs) moves into the pay-per-view telecast on Showtime.
The co-main is now Los Angeles’ Leo Santa Cruz’s World Boxing Council super-bantamweight title defense against veteran Cristian Mijares.
Chicago’s Molina won the International Boxing Federation belt in September with a split-decision victory over Ishe Smith.
Charlo is 17-0 with 13 knockouts, including a fifth-round knockout in December in Indio.