By Keith Idec
Terence Crawford did exactly what he was supposed to do to John Molina Jr. on Saturday night.
The undefeated WBC/WBO super lightweight champion dominated Molina, before stopping his hopelessly overmatched opponent in the eighth round of their scheduled 12-rounder. Crawford’s crisp performance thoroughly pleased an adoring hometown crowd of 11,270 at CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford’s hometown.
Crawford drilled Molina with a body shot in the middle of the ring in the eighth round that badly hurt Molina and made him backtrack. That made Crawford attack in him in a corner and land a barrage of hard body and head shots that forced referee Mark Nelson to step in and save Molina from more damage at 2:32 of the eighth round.
Fighting almost exclusively out of a southpaw stance, Crawford picked apart a slower, defensively deficient Molina for seven-plus round to improve to 30-0. Molina (29-7, 23 KOs), who upset rugged Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in his last fight, never stopped trying against a completely superior opponent, yet just couldn’t make the fight competitive.
“I showed everything in this fight,” said Crawford, who said “of course” he solidified his case for “Fighter of the Year” awards. “Credit to John Molina. He came, he fought, he did everything he could do. And at the same time, I’m just a fighter. I don’t make the fights. I just fight.”
Crawford counter-punched Molina effectively throughout the fight and mostly avoided Molina’s attempts at landing hard punches, largely thrown one at a time.
Molina did land a right hand in the third round that backed Crawford into the ropes, but the former WBO lightweight champion took the flush punch well and quickly regained control of the fight.
Molina tarnished the event Friday, when he twice weighed in over the contracted 140-pound limit.
The contender from Covina, California, weighed 144 pounds on his first attempt. He lost less than a pound during the standard two hours he was granted to come back on weight, and tipped the scales at 143.4 pounds.
A lengthy negotiation thereafter resulted in Molina paying Crawford $45,000 from his $400,000 purse to keep the fight scheduled. Molina couldn’t win Crawford’s titles because he didn’t meet the 140-pound limit.
Crawford’s purse for his fourth fight in his hometown was $1.5 million.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.