With some massive opportunities in the pipeline, unified super-lightweight champion Terence Crawford is gearing up for what could potentially be the final fight of his 140 pound run.
The 29 year-old, undefeated in 29 contests, makes the first defence of his new WBC version against John Molina Jr. this weekend knowing Manny Pacquiao could await him for a blockbuster battle in the late spring.
Not only does Crawford have a pound for pound rating to protect, but the potential to be an unblemished three-weight world champion in the coming months. ‘Bud’ is heavily favoured to defeat Molina, according to this site, although his opponent has the capability of dragging Crawford into a war which the Omaha man could squarely do without.
Molina’s tactics have worked on Mickey Bey and Ruslan Provodnikov in the past, whilst just coming up short against Lucas Matthysse and Humberto Soto. The Californian’s only chance of an upset will certainly be to go for broke and avoid allowing Crawford to get into his domineering rhythm and keep the fight at his distance.
Accused in the past of not being the most entertaining fighter, Crawford has to refrain from attempting to make an impression with the sole purpose of persuading Bob Arum that he is only foe Pacquiao should consider for 2017.
Vasyl Lomachenko has also been mentioned as a future opponent for the ‘Pacman’, but maybe the first quarter of 2017 will come too soon for the Ukrainian leaving Crawford to take the spot with a Molina win.
Pacquiao had wanted to battle Floyd Mayweather for a second time on the back of his flop effort in May 2015, although the former pound for pound king is adamant he won’t return, even following the advances of UFC champion Conor McGregor.
Crawford’s only other competition at Top Rank looks to be Konstantin Ponomarev as Arum fast runs out of potential suitors to face his number one fighter.