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Crawford-Molina averages 806K viewers on HBO

John Molina Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Last Saturday’s title fight between WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) and John Molina Jr. (29-7, 23 KOs) averaged 806,000 viewers on HBO with a peak of 871,000 viewers. Crawford-Molina brought in better ratings than the Showtime main event between WBA World featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares, which turned out to be the far superior fight compared to the mismatch between Crawford and Molina Jr.

The Crawford-Molina fight was supposed to be a mismatch. Molina was picked out for the Crawford fight despite having lost 3 out of his last 5 fights. One of the losses Molina suffered was a bad one-sided 12 round decision to Adrien Broner last year in which Molina Jr. did almost nothing for 12 rounds.

Crawford and Molina Jr. fought in from of 11,270 fans in Crawford’s hometown at the CenturyLink Arena in Omaha, Nebraska. The large group of fans cheered everything that Crawford did the entire fight. Molina was out there all by himself for the most part, and forced to chase after Crawford for eight very dull rounds.

It was interesting to listen to the HBO talking heads try and find things to talk about during the broadcast, because the Crawford-Molina fight was pretty unwatchable unless you like watching someone run around the ring for eight rounds. The only interesting part of the entire fight for me was when Crawford finally let his hands go in the 8th round and stopped Molina with a series of body punches.

Crawford brings in fans when he fights in Omaha. It would have been interesting to see how many fans Crawford would have brought in for his fight against Molina if the same fight took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. I also wonder whether the boxing fans would have been as patient as the Omaha fans were in watching Crawford for eight rounds instead of fighting.

I think the fans would have booed loudly at Crawford’s constant movement. I don’t know if Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank intentionally stuck the fight in Omaha in order to avoid potential booing of Crawford’s fighting style if the fight had taken place in Vegas instead of his hometown.

I think it’s a wise move for Top Rank to keep Crawford in Omaha for as long as possible until he starts showing more interest in mixing it up, because I think it would look bad if he were booed for an entire fight from a Las Vegas or New York crowd. The boxing fans in those cities like to see pure action. I’m not sure if they would be patient in watching Crawford move for 12 rounds rather than throwing punches.

HBO green-lighted the Crawford-Molina fight. They might have done better to reject the fight, and wait for Crawford fight a better opponent than Molina. After all, what can you expect when one fighter has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights? The fight had mismatch written all over it. If this was the Super Bowl last Saturday, and we had one team having lost 3 out of his last 5 game going into the match, I don’t think it would be a great match-up.

The Crawford vs. Molina Jr. match might have done better due to the delayed replay of the heavyweight fight between Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr. The two heavyweights fought for the vacant World Boxing Organization belt. Parker won the fight by a questionable 12 round decision.

I thought Ruiz Jr. did enough to win the fight, but I wasn’t in the least surprised that he lost. The fight took place in Parker’s home country of New Zealand at the Vector Arena in Auckland. Ruiz Jr. probably needed a knockout to make sure he got the win.

Also on the Crawford-Molina Jr. card was a fight between lightweight Ray Beltran and Mason Menard, which was won by Beltran. It was a better fight than the Crawford vs. Molina Jr. fight by far.

Crawford, 29, feels that he deserves the ‘Fighter of the Year’ for 2016. I’m not sure if too many boxing fans agree with that. None of Crawford’s three fights in the year stood out as exciting match-ups and performances in my opinion. Besides his win over Molina Jr., Crawford beat Viktor Postol and Hank Lundy. The Lundy is one to ignore right off the bat for a ‘fighter of the year’ consideration. You’ve got to do better than Lundy if you’re vying for a ‘Fighter of the Year’ in my book. Crawford’s win over Postol was good victory for him. Anytime you can get a ‘W’ against a previously unbeaten 5’11” fighter like Postol, it’s a good thing. The fight made news, and had a lot of boxing fans pretty excited. However, Crawford didn’t make it a thrilling fight to watch with the way that he was moving around the ring in the later rounds. Crawford wasn’t standing his ground nearly enough in the fight in the last part of it to make for an exciting match. Postol was there to be knocked out if Crawford had stepped oin the gas in the late rounds, but he wouldn’t do it. Crawford wasn’t interested in going after the knockout, and that made it boring, especially when he was running around the ring sticking his tongue out at Postol in the 12th round instead of looking to get him out of there.

In 2017, we’re going to see if Crawford can take his game to the next level if his promoters at Top Rank match him against the likes of Manny Pacquiao or some of the other welterweights. Crawford is going to need to move up in weight to the 147lb division if he wants to become a big star. He says he wants to unify the light welterweight division by taking on the other two champions Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo, but I don’t know if that’s going to be worth it for him to do so. The valuable time spent wasted on fighting those guys for their paper titles would be better spent on Crawford moving up to 147 and looking to fight guys like Errol Spence Jr., Kell Brook, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman. I don’t know if Crawford can beat guys like them, but at least he’ll have some interesting names and more competitive match-ups.

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