Joshua Franco took Andrew Moloney’s junior bantamweight title back in June. Moloney looked great in the rematch, but things came to a halt in round 2.
In June, Andrew Moloney came to the U.S from Australia to defend his WBA junior bantamweight title, but Joshua Franco got the better of him and took the belt. On Saturday, Nov. 14, they had their rematch again at Top Rank’s MGM bubble, but the result was a jumbled mess.
In their first fight, Franco took the title via unanimous decision. Moloney showed early in the rematch that he was hungry to win his title back. He got out to a hot start and caused serious damage to Franco’s right eye.
As Franco’s eye swelled at an alarming rate, referee Russell Mora ruled a headbutt as the cause of Franco’s closing eye. It seemed simple enough. Moloney and Franco had several close encounters while infighting, and the fight went on.
By the start of round 2, Franco’s eye was completely closed. The doctors called an end to the fight because of the state of Franco’s eye. Since a headbutt caused Franco’s injury, the fight was ruled a no-decision, and Franco retained his title.
Then, ESPN’s commentators started reviewing the brief bout for video of the headbutt. However, there wasn’t one.
As the referee and the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) tried to sort the fight’s ending, things got confusing. NSAC is one of the few boxing commissions that allow instant replay. They decided to go to the tape to verify Mora’s headbutt call. At first, five minutes went by, then ten, then twenty. Time continued to elapse.
There was nothing there.
Joshua Franco kept his title after a phantom headbutt against Andrew Moloney. Even instant replay could help the right call being made.
Franco’s eye blew up after the first minute in the first round. It looked like a thumb from Moloney’s glove cause the damage. Since the thumbs are attached to gloves, the thumb should have counted as a punch, and the fight should have been ruled as a TKO victory for Moloney.
The drama continued as ESPN commentators argued that Moloney should have his title back. Interviews were conducted with both corners who gave their opinions, and NSAC finally came to a decision.
They incorrectly stuck to the original call of no decision, despite the video showing that there wasn’t a headbutt that caused the injury to Franco’s eye.
You would think that replay would make all the difference in a fight like the Moloney vs. Franco rematch, but you would be wrong. Somehow, the referee and replay officials and NSAC found a way to mess it up.
Franco retained his title, but Moloney should have his WBA belt back. Hopefully, they will meet a third time to make things right. Until then, Moloney has every right to lose faith in the system because it failed him in the worst way.
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