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Crawford vs. Molina: John expects big things on Dec.10

John Molina Terence Crawford

By Allan Fox: #2 WBO, #3 WBC light welterweight contender John Molina (29-6, 23 KOs) believes he’s going to have some surprises for WBC/WBO 140lb champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) in their fight on HBO Boxing on December 10 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Molina feels he’s a different fighter compared to Crawford’s last opponent Viktor Postol, who lost to him by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision last July on HBO pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Postol didn’t fight aggressively enough in coming at Crawford with jabs and 1-2 combinations.

It wasn’t until the 12th round that Postol was able to give Crawford problems when he attacked in an all-out style, and seemed to get the better of him with that style. Crawford then go on his bike and ran around the ring while sticking his tongue out at Postol. The boxing fans that paid to see entertainment were less than enthused at seeing Crawford stalling out the fight rather than looking to finish off Postol.

The fans loudly booed Crawford. It would have been interesting to have been in the living rooms for the 50,000 fans that purchased the fight on HBO pay-per-view, because they might not have been too happy at seeing Crawford run from Postol in the 12th and playing it safe. Crawford obviously doesn’t owe anything to the boxing fans to make his fights entertaining, but then he’s the one who wants to become a PPV attraction. The way to become more popular is to shoot for knockouts rather than stalling out fights.

Molina said this to RingTV.com about his fight against the 29-year-old Molina:
“I don’t want to say I see things that I can take advantage of,” Molina said. “It’s going to be a very special night on Dec. 10. I think Terence is going to come into the fight with a lot of tricks.”

Of course, Crawford is going to be doing a variety of things to try and throw Molina Jr. off on December 10. Crawford will be fighting in the southpaw stance to trick Molina, and he’ll be using a lot of movement. It’s the same stuff that Crawford always does. It would be nice if Crawford goes after Molina in this fight to show some aggression. That would be a real change up if Crawford decided to come out and bang with Molina the way that Lucas Matthysse did in his 11th round knockout victory over him in 2014. That was one of the most exciting fights of the year. Matthysse was knocked down twice by Molina in rounds 2 and 5.

Matthysee dropped Molina in the 8th and 10th rounds. Like I said, it was exciting fight from start to finish. It sure would be nice if Crawford was willing to go to war with Molina in this fight instead of countering all night. That stuff gets boring to watch.

Crawford needs to emulate Matthysse or Gennady Golovkin to make it exciting from start to finish, and to win over some new boxing fans. I don’t expect Crawford to fight in aggressive manner. He’ll like fight like he always does by playing it safe and looking to just counter all night long.

If this is the last fight for Crawford before he faces Manny Pacquiao in early 2017, then it would be in his best interest to go to war with Molina to give boxing fans something to get excited about. It’s Crawford who wants the Pacquiao fight. If Crawford wants the Pacquiao fight to generate a lot of PPV buys, then it’s in his best interest to put his chin on the line on December 10th by going out there and standing in the pocket and firing rockets at Molina from start to finish to see if he can get him out of there in the traditional manner instead of making the fight into a boring affair with countering, running and sticking his tongue out like we saw from him the last time he fought.

It would be interesting to know what Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum is going to tell him before the fight. Does Arum tell Crawford to try and make it exciting this time by brawling or does he just let him go in the ring and be who he normally is? If I was promoting Crawford and trying to turn him into a bankable pay-per-view attraction, I would let him know that he needs to make it more exciting by brawling.

I know that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was able to become a pay-per-view start without being a brawler, but I think he was the exception to the rule. I think it’s a lot easier for fighters to become PPV attractions when they mix it up. Top PPV guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield were all fighters that slugged it out with their opposition.

They weren’t trying to out-slick their opponents by turning southpaw and by running around the ring. They were trying to destroy their opponents quickly. The boxing fans responded by paying to see them fight in high numbers. The slick fighters are a dime a dozen, but the fans just don’t seem interested in wanting to pay to see them fight for some reason. The fans want to see blood and violence.

For a title challenger, Molina has a lot of loses in the last four years. Molina has beaten five times in the last four years in defeats to Adrien Broner, Humberto Soto, Andrey Klimov, Locas Matthysse and Antonio DeMarco. Molina’s record during that time is 5-5. That’s not too good, is it? You can argue the only reason why Molina is getting a title shot now is because he recently beat Ruslan Provodnikov by a 12 round unanimous decision last June.

The loss for Provodnikov was bad news for his 10-year boxing career, because it came at a bad time. I’m not sure that Molina would have beaten Provodnikov at all if not for the bad beating Provodnikov took in his loss to Matthysse last year in April 2015. That was a vicious beating. If Molina had fought Provodnikov before that fight, I think he would have lost to him. Against Molina, Provodnikov looked like he wasn’t mentally into the fight. He showed none of the fire that he had in the past. Molina is 2-3 in his last five fights. That’s not good. He’s got a recognizable name to the casual boxing fans though, so that makes him a good option for Crawford.

“I’ve always been the underdog,” said Molina. “And I think I’ve come back with the most upsets and comebacks in recent times. I think I’m one of the most dramatic fighters because you never know what’s going to happen.”

It’s easy to say why Molina is always the underdog, and that’s he loses all the time when facing good competition. Molina beat Provodnikov and Mickey Bey, but he failed against Humberto Soto and Adrien Broner, as well as Matthysse. Beating Bey and Provodnikov isn’t that big of a deal. If Molina can’t beat guys like Broner and Soto, then he has no business fighting Crawford.

I think it’s going to be a terrible mismatch on December 10 with Crawford beating Molina by an embarrassingly easy decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if HBO is kicking themselves for giving the green light to the Crawford-Molina fight instead of rejecting it. They should have looked at the Broner-Molina fight before making the decision to have the Crawford vs. Molina fight televised on their network. Molina did nothing in that fight.


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