Underdog Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) beat WBA World super flyweight champion Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs) by a narrow 12 round unanimous decision on Tuesday night on ESPN at The Bubble” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Moloney suffered a cut over his left eye in the 10th round, and he took a lot of damage from the heavy shots from Franco. In the 11th, Moloney was dropped after Franco unloaded on him with a blizzard of punches.
Moloney showed a lot of heart in getting up from that knockdown to make it out of the round because he looked a physical wreck.
Franco probably could have finished Moloney in this round if he’d landed a few more punishing shots, but he just couldn’t do it.
The judges scored the fight as follows: 115-112, 114-113, 114-113. Boxing fans are all over the place on social media with their own scoring of the match. While some believe that the fight should have been more extensive in Franco’s favor, others saw it as a close decision win for him.
Virtually nobody saw Moloney winning. The knockdown that Franco scored in round 11 sealed the deal for him. After that knockdown, there was no way the judges could give the win to Moloney without looking bad in the eyes of the fans.
The younger fighter Franco, 24, started slowly in the first six rounds of tonight’s fight, but he came on strong in the second part of the match to knockdown Moloney in round 11 to take the victory.
Moloney, 29, looked like he lost the edge in the championship due to the energy from the younger Franco, who wouldn’t let up on him. Franco was fighting at a pace that was faster than the Australian fighter Moloney was comfortable with, and he couldn’t keep up with him.
In the 10th round, Franco began to hammer a tired and hurt Moloney at will with shots. Moloney looked like he was close to being stopped in that round, and that wasn’t much he could do about it. His stamina had abandoned him by that point in the fight, and he wasn’t active on the inside against Franco.
Moloney was getting beaten up by the American Franco when he tried to fight him in close, which is where he’s normally comfortable.
It was a good win for Franco. With his performance, he showed that Moloney isn’t as good as some fans thought he was. No one saw Moloney as one of the best 115-pound fighters in the division going into tonight’s fight.
It’ll be interesting to see if Moloney and Franco meet up in a rematch. If so, it’s hard to see the outcome being any different than it was tonight, but you never know. If Moloney can get the rematch with Franco staged in his home country of Australia, he’ll have an excellent chance of winning.
He was seen as a belt holder; now he’s an ex-belt-holder. There are different levels among the elite at 115 and the B-level guys. The elite champions are Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, and Jerwin Ancajas.
The winner, Franco landed 231 of 789 punches for a connect percentage of 29, according to CompuBox. Moloney connected on 191 of 663 shots for a 29% connect rate.
It was a close fight, but Franco’s activity and ring generalship in the last half of the fight was the difference in the outcome. Like I said earlier, if Moloney had been able to fight at the same level that he did in the first six rounds for the entire bout, he’d have won easily. Moloney couldn’t do it, and a large part of that reason is the pressure from the younger fighter Franco.