By Allan Cerf
Tomorrow on HBO Championship Boxing,Terence "Bud" Crawford meets John "The Gladiator" Molina at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska for Crawford’s WBC and WBO super lightweight titles.
Pity the poor Molina’s - Eric and John (no relation) both of whom are in hopeless fights in December versus opponents vastly more skillful. The odds of Crawford failing - or even performing poorly, are about as likely as a Trump...wait, scratch that.
Crawford, with elite skills, easily defeated Viktor Postol in a fight I predicted Postol would narrowly win. While Postol had a few moments, the fight wasn’t close and Postol is, IMHO far more skilled than Molina, though Molina punches harder than the Ukrainian.
Like the other over-tasked Molina, Eric, in his December brawl with Joshua, KO ghouls will get their due portion of blood: I expect ‘Bud’ to stop his game opponent.
Arguably, Crawford, like Joshua, needs a better opponent in ‘his’ Molina dual, yet I give him more credit than Joshua. I think not only will Crawford have a longer career than Joshua, but that he is simply a better fighter. Joshua is a hyper-athletic, big guy with breaks (The London Olympics) who will make a lot of dough and entertain millions, before being dispatched by a better opponent. Crawford, conversely was born to this gig. Boxing is a separate world: Athleticism is great as in other sports. Yet, it is mano e mano, where qualities of heart, perfectionism and “ring-generalship” set it utterly apart.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Terence Crawford: B B+ B+ B A B B (Average of all) B
John Molina: C+ B C B C- B B+ (Average of all) B-
Reality Check: As always, when two men are throwing muscle-memory missiles - anything can happen. But this is probably more true of the higher weight classes. I like Molina, who has had some thrilling scraps. However, for him to crack the Glass Ceiling of Crawford’s elite set of skills is hugely unlikely. There is just one possibility: Molina, who is a better boxer than many think, could hang around for a lot of rounds. The longer the fight, the better the chance he could suddenly land something BIG. Trouble is, he’s a very good, not great puncher. And he simply cannot outbox Bud Crawford.
Personal: Crawford, a laid-back, cool guy has been covered before. Molina is, clichés aside the definition of down-to-earth family man - everyone likes him and his blood and guts approach. Wife Neda and daughter Raenah are his inspiration - though this man loves boxing and doesn’t do it solely for the checks.
Prediction: Bud Crawford by TKO in Round seven.