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Terence Crawford vs. John Molina Jr. on December 10

John Molina Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) will reportedly be defending his titles against #3 WBC, #3 WBO contender John Molina Jr. (29-6, 23 KOs) on December 10 on HBO Championship Boxing from Crawford’s hometown at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The fight isn’t official yet, but that’s the fight that is being mentioned. Overall, I expect the fans to greet the news of the Crawford-Molina fight favorably. Molina sometimes makes things excited, but definitely not all the time. When Molina is bad, he’s REAL bad. He’s one of those fighters that you never know what you’re going to get from him effort-wise.

Molina, 33, isn’t the greatest of options for Crawford to fight. After all, Molina did lose easily to Adrien Broner las year in a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision defeat in March of 2015. Broner beat Molina by the scores of 120-108, 120-108 and 118-110.

Molina looked like he wasn’t mentally into the fight, because he never really attacked Broner in the way that he needed to for him to have a chance of winning. It just looked like Molina fought for survival rather than to win. Since then, Molina has won his last two fights against weaker opposition in Jorge Romero (24-9) and Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4).

The win over Provodnikov was a good one for Molina Jr., but you can argue that he got the fight against the Russian fighter at the right time. Provodnikov took a lot of punishment in his 12 round decision loss to Lucas Matthysse in April of last year. Provodnikov didn’t look like the same fighter when he fought Molina Jr. in their fight last June. Not surprisingly, Provodnikov hasn’t fought since then. I have doubts whether Molina would beat a motivated Provodnikov. I think it would have been a different story if Provodnikov fought Molina the way he fought Tim Bradley and Mike Alvarado.

It would have been nice to see Crawford move up to 147 and take on Errol Spence Jr. or Shawn Porter. Crawford reportedly rehydrated to 157lbs for his last fight against Viktor Postol. With that kind of size, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for Crawford remaining at 140, other than to dominate a division that is barren of talented fighters.

At 140, Crawford can be a champion. At 147, there would be major question marks whether Crawford would be able to hang with guys like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Those guys would test Crawford’s chin, and he would need to show something. He couldn’t just run around the ring for 12 rounds like he did against Postol and expect to beat them.

I don’t think the judges would give Crawford a win if that’s all he was going to do against those guys, because they’d put a lot more pressure on Crawford than Postol did. The only round where Postol fought smart and really pressured Crawford was in the 12th, which is the round where he clearly gave Crawford all kinds of problems. That’s the blueprint in how to beat Crawford. You’ve got to go after him and fight him like it’s the last round of the fight. If you do that for 12 rounds, Crawford would be vulnerable to lose, because he’s not made for pure slugging, which is why he was running away from Postol.

“I’m told likely Crawford foe Dec. 10 on HBO is John Molina Jr. Will mark first Top Rank/Al Haymon non-purse bid deal other than Mayweather-Pac quiao in years,” said Dan Rafael on his Twitter.

The names that were in the running for Crawford’s December 10 fight were IBF light welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky, Antonio Orozco and Felix Diaz. Sadly, that’s the best the 140lb division has now when you remove guys like Adrien Broner, Viktor Postol, Ricky Burns, Kiryl Relikh, and Rances Barthlemy from the equation. The 140lb division doesn’t have a lot of big names.

Crawford beat Postol last July in a fight that was televised by HBO pay-per-view. It wasn’t much of a match-up to be honest. Crawford spent most of the fight moving in circles and throwing pot shots. It was pure boxing, and many of the boxing fans that saw the fight were disappointed in the lack of action. They wanted to see a knockout, but instead they saw 12 rounds of movement from Crawford. He won the fight, but he failed to impress a lot of the boxing fans that like to see action. The fans that like to see pure boxing and movement were pleased, but you can argue those are the minority. Fans like to see action, and the action in that fight was very limited.

Molina Jr. might be a disappointment for HBO and the fans if he chooses to box Crawford like he did Provodnikov. Molina is not going to beat Crawford at his own game. The only chance that anyone in the division has of beating Crawford is to fight him the way Yuriorkis Gamboa did in the first four rounds of their fight in 2014. Gamboa was getting the better of Crawford by throwing speedy combinations, and then moving to the outside. However, after Gamboa slipped on the canvas and was knocked down in the 5th, he seemed to lose control over his senses and started slugging. Once Gamboa did that, Crawford was able to pick him off with counter punches to get three more knockdowns en route to stopping him in the 9th.

Gamboa at least showed the blueprint in how to get the better of Crawford. You can’t just brawl with him, and you can’t try and box him either. It’s got to be short bursts of punches and then move to the outside. Crawford’s chin is clearly no better than any fighter in the division. Gamboa had him hurt. He might have won the fight if he didn’t lose his cool after he slipped. The referee clearly blew the call by scoring the slip a knockdown. The fight took place in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

Molina is going to need to put in a better effort in this fight than he did against Broner, because he looked unmotivated and overmatched. Molina will obviously be over-matched against Crawford, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still win if he fights smart and doesn’t give up mentally.

That was just a terrible performance from Molina. His corner might as well have pulled him out after the 2nd round, because he looked like he wasn’t even trying to win. For the boxing fans that remember the Broner-Molina fight, they’ll know what I’m talking about. Molina fought the worst fight I’ve seen from a top fighter in many years, because he looked like he didn’t want to try and win.

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