THREE PUNCH COMBO. JOSHUA VS. MOLINA AND MORE — It was announced last week that Anthony Joshua would make the second defense of his IBF heavyweight championship against Eric Molina on December 10th. On social media, the selection of Molina has brought widespread criticism. But I think Molina is a credible opponent for Joshua at this time and am looking forward to this fight.
First of all, Joshua and his team did try to make a much bigger fight this year with Wladimir Klitschko. However, Klitschko stepped away from the potential bout for 2016 citing an injury. Joshua wanted to stay active and did not have much time to find an opponent. Molina, of the names willing to take the fight, was the best choice for this situation.
Molina’s record is very deceiving. He has three losses in his 28 fights with all three of those losses coming by knockout. So the assumption is that he has a very suspect chin. But we need to take a much closer look at those losses. The first was his pro debut and happened nearly ten years ago. The second was to Chris Arreola in 2012. Since that loss, Molina has looked like an entirely different fighter. He notched a couple of solid wins and overcame some adversity. As he improved, Molina became more confident. He showed this in his third loss when he gave the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder the toughest fight of his career. Though Molina was eventually stopped, he had Wilder in some trouble in a bout in which Molina showed a ton of heart. Following the Wilder fight, Molina scored a career best win in stopping Tomasz Adamek this past April.
The one thing that Molina has shown of late in his career is his willingness to go all out to win. He is not going to sit back and get picked apart against Joshua. Molina will open up and take his best shot. And this certainly could get him knocked out and knocked out early. However, at least we will get a fun fight for as long as it goes.
One other thing to keep in mind is that we don’t really know much about Joshua’s chin. He was hurt last December by Dillian Whyte and had not really been caught with anything either prior to or since that bout. If Molina manages to land something, things could get interesting. I like Molina as the opponent for Joshua and think at the very least we should get an exciting heavyweight fight to close out the year.
Why Boxing Needs Mayweather-Pacquiao II
Manny Pacquiao scored a decisive decision victory against Jessie Vargas on Saturday night, Nov. 5 in Las Vegas. In attendance to watch Pacquiao perform was the currently retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. His presence at the fight once again started rumors of a return match with Pacquiao.
As we all know, the well-hyped first encounter in May of 2015 lived down to all expectations. The fight was lackluster and completely one-sided in favor of Mayweather. But as much as boxing needed Mayweather and Pacquiao to fight in 2015 it needs them once again to face off in 2017.
The reason is simple. No other bout in the sport can inject as much publicity as a return encounter between Pacquiao and Mayweather. They are both recognized superstars by sports fans and boxing’s two most recognizable figures at the moment. A rematch would garner wide news attention and give the sport some much needed attention.
If Pacquiao fought Terence Crawford next spring, it would no doubt would be a highly anticipated match amongst the boxing community. However, it would draw little interest from mainstream sports fans that do not recognize Crawford at this time. Similarly, if Mayweather fought the winner of Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman, that bout would draw a lot of interest from the boxing community. But neither Thurman nor Garcia have the drawing power of Pacquiao.
Boxing needs a jolt and a rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather would certainly provide that jolt. It’s a fight the sport needs to happen and needs to happen in 2017.
PBC on Spike
Though I am not looking forward to the Danny Garcia tune-up fight in the main event, the PBC on Spike card this Saturday does offer a couple of intriguing fights. Fast rising prospect Jarrett Hurd (18-0) takes on former world title challenger Jo Jo Dan (35-3) in one fight and Javier Fortuna (30-1-1) squares off against Omar Douglas (17-0) in a crossroads contest in the other.
A lot of hard core boxing fans are very excited about the potential of Hurd. He has flashed blazing hand speed on his rise as well as very good power. When watching him fight, his talent and skill seem to jump out. He has that certain “wow” factor that make many feel he could be a star in the making. Dan is a solid veteran and somewhat of a division gatekeeper. The only time he was blown out in a fight was to Kell Brook. The only other losses on his resume are hotly disputed decisions on the road in Turkey to Selcuk Aydin. Dan is a good test and could prove to be an interesting challenge for Hurd.
The bout between Fortuna and Douglas is on paper the most competitive on the card. Fortuna is very quick and possesses very fast hands. At one point, he was a top prospect and some thought a future star in the sport. But some recent performances have put his career in limbo and in need of a big win.
The undefeated Douglas has flashed skills as well as good hand speed, but in some of his recent fights was very lackadaisical defensively, often getting hit by punches he should have easily avoided. Fortuna’s hand speed could give him problems. On the flip side, Douglas has shown heart and he could push Fortuna much like Jason Sosa did a few months ago. If Fortuna responds like he did against Sosa, things could easily swing in favor of Douglas.
Despite the fact that this Saturday’s PBC card has been heavily criticized due to a weak main event, the undercard bouts are very intriguing. At the very least, I think that these bouts are worth watching as each provides their own intrigue.