SAN DIEGO, December 10, 2016 – Terence “Bud” Crawford has singlehandedly developed a boxing fan base in the Midwest, filling the Century Link Arena in Omaha, Nebraska for the third time including supporter Warren Buffett on Saturday night.
Fans expected a victory by their hometown hero, and they got exactly what they came for. After piling up round after round of dominance against challenger John Molina Jr., Crawford caught Molina with a series of surgical strikes first from the left, and then from the right to get an 11th round stoppage. Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) used this bout to cap off another successful year in the 140-pound lightweight division, and make his last best case as a contender for 2016 Fighter of the Year.
Molina (29-8, 23 KOs), who didn’t make weight and said he simply couldn’t do it anymore at age 33, decided the only way he could win was a single lucky haymaker punch and that’s all he tried to land. If he had decided to rush Crawford from the opening bell when he was fresh and try to catch him off guard, it might have worked. Otherwise, with a fighter of Crawford’s skill it was merely a matter of time.
Give Molina credit at least for getting in the ring and lasting as long as he did. Crawford punches with such accuracy and power from both hands, it became hard to watch Molina taking it during the later rounds.
Crawford remains the lineal, unified WBO and WBC 140-pound champion. “I showed everything in this fight,” said Crawford. “I credit John Molina he came, he fought. He did everything he could do. I’m just the fighter. I don’t make the fights, I just fight them.”
When asked about talk pitting Crawford against eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, who like Crawford is part of the Top Rank Promotions stable, Crawford deferred. “That’s up to Bob Arum, my managers and my coaches. I’d love to fight Pacquiao, but it’s a business.” Crawford said he’d be happy to fight anyone with a title, including newly crowned IBF champion Ricky Burns of Great Britain. Crawford beat Burns in his first significant career victory, and Burns would probably love the chance to get revenge in a rematch.
Crawford was also asked about American Errol Spence Jr., one of the most talented boxers coming out of the Olympics for the U.S. “Of course, but he’s at 147 (pounds), I’m at 140. He (Spence) may be moving up. But sure that would be a great fight,” agreed Crawford.
In the HBO co-main event, veteran Ray Beltran (32-7-1, 20 KOs) of Mexico put on one of the best performances of his career with a seventh round knockout of Mason Menard (32-2, 24 KOs) of Louisiana. Since he lost to Crawford in 2014, Beltran, 35, has three impressive knockout wins. Beltran landed 136 of 330 punches (41 percent) to Menard’s 81 of 303 (27 percent). Beltran landed nearly double the power punches, 117 to 65.
Menard, 28, was simply too inexperienced against top competition to stand up to Beltran. “I used my experience, he’s a very tough kid, very strong, very fast, but I used my experience from past fights, relax and be patient,” said Beltran.
“It is a new level, it’s new work. It was great to win this way, to see I have natural punching power,” said Beltran. “It’s all about smart training, I made some changes in my training. In my impression that played a big part,” explained Beltran. Beltran says he now wants anyone with a title belt, naming Terry Flanagan and Jorge Linares.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. She is owner of the Falcon Valley Group based in San Diego, California. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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