OMAHA, US: Champion Terence Crawford easily defended his WBO and WBC belts by stopping brawler John Molina in the eighth round of their junior welterweight title fight on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Crawford dominated the fight from the opening bell landing precision head shots and bruising body blows through the first seven rounds then taking out the challenger with a series of rights late in the eighth round.
“I showed everything in this fight,” said Crawford, who improved to 30-0. “Give credit to John Molina because he came to fight.”
The 29-year-old Crawford was rarely tested in his third fight of 2016 in front of his hometown fans as he landed 109 punches through eight rounds compared to just 22 for Molina.
The 2014 fighter of the year said he wants his next fight to be against Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao.
“I would love to fight Pacquiao, but it is a business. Right now I want to fight anyone with a title. I want them belts.
“If I can’t get Pacquiao, I want the belts.”
Molina showed determination and big heart but he was no match for the quick hands and smooth footwork of Crawford who was the heavy favourite coming into the fight at CenturyLink Center arena.
Crawford pinned a defenceless Molina in the corner, then landed three straight right hands before the referee stepped in and stopped the slaughter as the challenger slumped to the canvas.
Crawford started 2016 with an impressive fifth-round knockout of Henry Lundy in February and followed it up five months later with two knockdowns while cruising to a one-sided decision over Viktor Postol to unify the titles in Las Vegas.
The 33-year-old Molina dropped to 29-7. He earned a shot at the titles by upsetting former champion Ruslan Provodnikov in June.
But Molina did not come close to making the 140-pound weight for his title shot so he would have been denied the belts if he had done the impossible and won.