HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO and Top Rank Promotions will team up to televise three bouts from two different locations.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC Junior Welterweight titles in the main event of the evening against John Molina live from Omaha, Nebraska. Additionally, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran will compete against rising prospect Mason Menard as the co-main event of the Nebraska card.
It was also recently announced that Top Rank will promote Joseph Parker in the United States; and HBO has decided to show the WBO Heavyweight Title Bout between Parker and Ruiz on a same day tape delay from Auckland, New Zealand.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Joseph Parker (21-0) vs. Andy Ruiz (29-0); WBO Heavyweight Title
Joseph Parker will be fighting in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand and will be the favorite coming into this bout.
He has already fought four times in 2016, and four of his past five fights have been by TKO/KO. He is twenty four years old and is three years younger than his opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage on Ruiz. Ruiz has also been fairly active and has fought three times in 2016.
Joseph Parker has the heavier hands of the two boxers. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents, and four of his past five fights have ended by TKO/KO. Ruiz has stopped nineteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five opponents failed to go the distance.
They both have had moderate success as an amateur. Ruiz was a Mexican National Amateur Champion and Parker medaled in several international competitions as an amateur.
Parker has a slight edge in quality of opposition. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, and Bowie Tupou. Ruiz has defeated the likes of an aged Ray Austin and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Ruiz is a good enough of a boxer to last all twelve rounds, but it will be extremely difficult for him to pull out a victory in Parker’s home country of New Zealand.
Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1) vs. Mason Menard (32-1); Lightweights
The opening bout of the night in Omaha, Nebraska will be between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard in the lightweight division.
Beltran is a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and is a rugged, tough, durable opponent. He’s much better than his record suggests and is known for having excellent stamina.
However, Beltran is thirty five years old and will be seven years older than his opponent, Mason Menard. Beltran will have about a two inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Menard does have a slight edge in power. He has twenty four knockouts on his record while Beltran only has nineteen.
Menard became well known with some upset victories on national television, including wins over Bahodir Mamadjonov and Eudy Bernardo. But prior to those wins he faced mainly non-descript opponents and most of his bouts were in his home state of Louisiana.
Beltran has defeated the likes of Ivan Najera, Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, and Henry Lundy. He also has several losses, but most of them have come against good opposition. He has lost to the likes of Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., and Sharif Bogere.
Neither boxer was very active in the past two years. They both fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. Neither boxer experienced a great deal of success on the international stage as an amateur.
Menard has surprised many with his two latest victories, but Beltran is a big step up in competition for him and isn’t past his prime yet. This should be a fight that Beltran wins through a hard fought decision.
Terence Crawford (29-0) vs. John Molina (29-6); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Titles
Terence Crawford is one of Top Rank Promotions’ biggest stars and has been a rumored opponent for Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Crawford regularly fights in Omaha and will have a nearly sold out venue cheering him on.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. He’s four years younger than Molina, but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height as well as an inch in reach.
Crawford has been fairly active for a champion and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015. Molina has only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Crawford has twenty stoppage victories and three of his past five fights did not go the distance. Molina has twenty three stoppage wins, but has gone 3-3 in his past six fights.
Molina is always a dangerous fighter, and this was evident in his last upset victory over the hard hitting Provodnikov. He has also defeated the likes of Mickey Bey, Dannie Williams, and Henry Lundy. However, Molina also has an impressive list of opponents that he has lost to. These fighters include Antonio DeMarco, Andrey Klimov, Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto, and Adrien Broner.
Crawford has never been defeated and has been slowly increasing the level of competition that he faces in the ring. He has defeated the likes of Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymondo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andre Klimov.
Crawford was also very successful as an amateur on the national level, and has even won a Police Athletic League Boxing Championship.
This is a fight that very few expect Crawford to lose. He’s a more technically skilled boxer than the last man that Molina beat and should be able to stop Molina.
Molina has been known for upsetting the apple cart from time to time, but Saturday is unlikely.