Terence “Bud” Crawford will be fighting at the CenturyLink Center in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska this Saturday night, December 10 against John Molina Jr.
Crawford, the Junior Welterweight champion, will be defending his WBC and WBO belts. Though this fight is being labeled as a clear mismatch, Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) should not overlook Molina (29-6, 23 KOs). Molina is an experienced veteran and a powerful puncher.
Crawford has faced very talented opposition in his career and he has fought and beat just about every style of fighter.
Crawford is making his fourth defense of his 140-pound crown against the crafty brawler, Molina.
“Molina is a tough opponent who has been in the ring with the best of the division,” said Crawford (per ESPN).
“I can’t wait for December 10 because Molina is really a good puncher and I will be going in there to fight as well.”
Molina, of Covina, California, will be the heavy underdog on Saturday night in his second world-title fight. His first title shot was in 2012 against Antonio DeMarco who was then the Lightweight titleholder. That bout was stopped after only 44 seconds in the first round.
Molina went through another rough patch between 2014 and 2015, suffering a three-fight losing streak to Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto and Adrien Broner.
Since then, Molina has bounced back with two wins in a row. He beat Jorge Romero late in 2015 and also upset Ruslan Provodnikov in June of this year. Molina has worked very hard to earn another title shot.
“I am thankful for the opportunity, I am training hard for what I know will be a great fight,” said Molina.
Crawford is coming off the biggest win of his career against Viktor Postol where he added the WBC title to his collection.
A showdown between the top two fighters in the weight class, Crawford and Postol went toe-to-toe July 23 in Las Vegas to unify two belts. This was a highly anticipated fight between two world-class fighters, but surprisingly Crawford made it look effortless in his one-sided decision victory over Postol.
Saturday night, Crawford will be fighting in Omaha for the first time since October 2015–he is ready and is excited to be fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
“The Omaha fans will be packed to the rafters in support of their favorite son Terence Crawford. John Molina will provide a great test for Terence but I think it’s a test Terence will pass with flying colors. A victory on December 10 will make a strong argument for Terence to be named fighter of the year,” said Top Rank Founder and CEO, Bob Arum.
A lot is on the line for both fighters this coming Saturday. For Molina, this could possibly be his last chance at a world title shot and for Crawford, a win over a top 10 rated contender like Molina, especially in thrilling style, could set him up for the eventual Manny Pacquiao showdown.
Though this fight is largely happening to fill a date for HBO (originally Canelo Alvarez was supposed to fight December 10, but injured himself against Liam Smith in September) as well as to keep Crawford busy–at the very least this should be an entertaining fight.
Crawford has outclassed each and every one of his opponents to date, and beaten better fighters than Molina, but anything can happen in boxing, maybe we will witness another Molina upset–which would certainly be the upset of the year.
Header photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank