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Unbeaten Crawford, the Boxing Writers Association of America fighter of the year in 2014, has two victories already on his resume in 2016, taking his record to 29-0 (20 knockouts) with a fifth-round technical knockout of Henry Lundy in February and a unanimous decision over Viktor Postol in Las Vegas in July.
The 29-year-old will be a heavy favorite in front of his hometown fans against 33-year-old Molina, despite the Californian’s impressive win over former titlist Provodnikov that took his record to 29-6 with 23 knockouts.
“You’ve got to be careful with the type of guys that throw wild punches and come in with their head,’’ Crawford told USA Today. “He’s a strong puncher. He’s upset a lot of people and he’s hurt a lot of people.’’
Nevertheless, Crawford is already envisioning a victory.
“I did a number on Hank Lundy, the kind that nobody else was able to do,’’ Crawford told ESPN. “I unified the title against Postol, a guy everybody said was almost as good as I was. I am an undefeated champion and was fighting a guy (Postol) coming off a knockout win against (Lucas) Matthysse and I totally dominated him.
“Now I’m fighting another guy coming off an impressive win, a number one contender, and a win over him should convince people that I am fighter of the year.’’
Crawford was one of the fighters being considered to take on Manny Pacquiao before the Filipino champion chose Mexican Jessie Vargas last month.