Joshua vs Molina scorecards: Can challenger win a decision?
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will seemingly have every conceivable advantage when he faces Eric Molina next weekend.
A 33 to 1 favorite (SkyBet), Joshua will enjoy advantages in skills, power and athleticism. Moreover, the champion likely boosts advantages in speed and amateur pedigree.
... And to add insult to injury, the fight will take place in front of thousands of pro Joshua fans.
Does Molina need a knockout to win?
If this bout is anywhere near competitive and goes the distance, Joshua wins. He's the strong A-side fighter, the champion, the heavy favorite and will have a raucous crowd in his corner.
Moreover, and just as significant, Molina doesn't have the tools to outclass Joshua over twelve rounds.
The uncomfortable truth: Joshua will enter the bout with a scoring advantage. If you're Team Molina, consider yourself behind by 4 points when the bell rings for Round 1.
To beat a popular foe in boxing, the "opponent" usually must win decisively i.e. leave no doubt. And, except for a "few" exceptions, it has always been this way.
Boxing stars, such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Evander Holyfield, have usually enjoyed certain amenities as they relate to scoring.
But regardless of star power, a strong A-side fighter will almost always win the close ones, especially when they have the crowd's backing and are facing a non-star with a limited fanbase.
Danny Garcia vs Mauricio Herrera... Brandon Rios vs Richar Abril... James Toney vs Dave Tiberi.... De La Hoya vs Sturm... Canelo Alvarez vs Austin Trout... Canelo vs Lara. I can go on and on.
And while an unpopular Frankie Randall defeated superstar Julio Cesar Chavez in their first encounter, don't forget the 'Surgeon' needed a knockdown and "two" point deductions just to eke out a victory in a bout he should have won convincingly on the scorecards.
So while there are "some" surprises (such as Ruslan Provodnikov's upset loss to Chris Algieri in 2014) where the strong A-side fighter loses a close battle, those situations are few and far between.
Molina can't - and won't - outpoint Joshua next weekend.
Eric needs a KO to win.