Undefeated World Junior Welterweight Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD (29-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., will make his bid for 2016 Fighter of the Year honors (to go with his 2014 award) when he makes the first defense of his unified 140-pound world titles.
Crawford rumbles with one-time world title challenger and current No. 1 contender JOHN MOLINA JR. (29-6, 23 KOs), from Covina, Calif., on This Saturday! December 10, at CenturyLink Center Omaha (455 North 10th St., Omaha, Neb. 68102.)
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with TGB Promotions, the Crawford vs. Molina world title tilt will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast will open with the same-day delay telecast of the Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz, Jr. WBO heavyweight championship in New Zealand, followed by the live telecast from Omaha, featuring a 10-round lightweight battle for the NABF and NABO titles between Top-10 world-rated contenders Ray Beltran (31-7-1, 19 KOs), of Phoenix, AZ , and Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs), of Rayne, LA, and concluding with the Crawford – Molina world title fight.
“It’s been a great training camp in Colorado Springs. I always spar with bigger men to prepare myself. I know he is going to bring his A-plus game. There is no reason to overlook an opponent who is willing to step into the ring with me. Not many are willing to do that anymore. Molina is coming off a great victory over Ruslan Provodnikov and a Fight of the Year performance against Lucas Matthysse. I know he’s dangerous. He has shown versatility and guts. He is a legitimate No. 1 contender – tough and rugged. He has my respect.
“I will do what I do best and that’s to make a statement in the ring just as I did in the summer against Viktor Postal. I unified the belts and became the lineal champion by dominating and beating a fellow undefeated champion in Postal. That’s when boxing is at its greatest – when the best fight each other and risk it all.
“Do I think I should be the fighter of the year? I do. A win on Saturday will give me three televised world championship victories in three different cities. I beat Hank Lundy at Madison Square Garden. No one put the dents into Hank Lundy that I did. I stopped him in the fifth round. In the Postal fight, I went to Las Vegas and scored several knockdowns against an undefeated champion trained by Freddie Roach and unified the titles. Now I’m back in Omaha against a No. 1 contender in Molina.
“I also think Brian McIntyre should be Trainer of the Year. When I was named the 2014 Fighter of the Year, Brian should also have been honored. How can I be a Fighter of the Year without the Trainer of the Year? He doesn’t get the recognition h deserves. Maybe it’s because we are from a small market in Omaha and we don’t get the national media attention fighters and trainers get from bigger cities like Los Angeles.
“But I’m so happy to have HBO shine a national spotlight on Omaha. It’s a great incentive to the kids here to stay in the gym and out of trouble and to work hard. That’s really what it’s all about to me.”
“We keep hearing about a future fight with Manny Pacquiao but there doesn’t seem to be much interest from his team, especially since Freddie Roach got a good look at Terence from Postal’s corner. What they need to do – Koncz, Roach and Manny — is to hold hands and pray and ask for divine intervention directing them to a fight with Terence.
“Oscar was man enough to accept Manny’s challenge. It’s part of the cycle of life in boxing. Handing off the torch to the successor. Manny should be man enough to do the same thing. There is no excuse. Manny nd Freddie say Manny walks around at 140. Both are world champions. Both are Top-10 pound for pound fighters. It’s a natural. But it takes two to make a fight. Terence only lacks the opportunity to take over the spot that Manny and Floyd Mayweather used to hold as the pound for pound star of the sport.
“Manny is a great fighter but he is limited. Manny is a machine and to beat him you need to offset him. Once an envelope gets stuck in a sorter it jams. That’s what Terence will do to Manny. Offset him. Because once Manny is offset, he cannot adapt.
“Right now our goal is to unify the belts. Terence can still make 140 easily. He is growing as a talent and we are growing as a team.
“Molina is a very tricky fighter coming off an exciting win over Provodnikov. He will try to capitalize on that momentum. It will be am exciting fight. Molina may try to box Terence but when that doesn’t work, he will revert back to his old style. He’s going to get hit with power he has never felt before.”
JOHN MOLINA JR.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for me and the fans are going to see a great fight. I got into this game to fight the best and Terence Crawford is one of the best. It was a great training camp. We did all our homework and we are prepared. Hank Lundy was an enormous help as a sparring partner. It will be important to take Terence into deep water
“I think it’s great to be fighting in Omaha. It’s a great town and everyone here has been great to us I’m used to fighting away from home. I love fighting here. It will be a great crowd because Terence Crawford fans are fans of boxing. But we will disrupt their enthusiasm by upsetting the apple cart. But Omaha has a lot to be proud of in Terence Crawford.”
Remaining reserved seat tickets to the Crawford – Molina world championship event, priced at $27, $52, $77 and $127, can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center Omaha box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. To charge-by-phone call (800) 745-3000. To order online, visit ticketmaster.com.