Third fight in the works
By Anthony Cocks
WBA ‘regular’ super flyweight titleholder Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco 21-1 (14) 1NC is prepared to travel Down Under to complete his trilogy with Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 17-1-2 (8) 1NC, according to his coach Roberto Garcia.
The 25-year-old from San Antonio, Texas retained his title in controversial circumstances when his rematch with Moloney was stopped at the end of the second round in Las Vegas on November 14.
Australia’s Moloney, 29, was in full control throughout the six minutes, busting up Franco’s right eye with his jab and compounding the damage with his left hook.
But referee Russell Mora ruled the initial swelling to Franco’s eye was caused by an unintentional headclash, rendering the result a no-contest after ringside physician Raimundo Leon recommended the fight be stopped before the start of the third round.
The Nevada Athletic Commission implemented their video review system and spent 26 minutes poring over the footage at ringside. Despite no obvious clash of heads, they supported Mora’s original ruling.
It was an unsatisfactory result for all involved.
“We want to do the third fight,” Garcia said to Peter Maniatis on The KO Boxing Show. “We’re not happy. Moloney and his team isn’t happy. Bob Arum definitely isn’t happy because Bob Arum did what any promoter would do. He defended his fighter. He was defending a case and so was Moloney’s manager [Tony Tolj] and Moloney himself.
“They were defending a good case because they did have a good case. But they’re not happy, we’re not happy and we definitely want to do the third fight.”
It has been reported that Franco suffered a fractured eye socket in the fight.
“There’s no question we will do a third fight, but we have to give Josh the rest of this year, a month and a half, to heal and recover and in January we’ll start training,” Garcia continued. “Hopefully in January we will start and by February or March, we can do it again.”
Moloney’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has flagged a plan to bring the third fight between Franco and Moloney to Australia. The fight would be the co-main event of a blockbuster card that would also feature undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez 16-0 (12) defending his titles against IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr 19-0 (10).
While the fight would be a natural in Kambosos’ native Sydney, another viable option would be the Victorian capital of Melbourne – colloquially known as ‘the sports capital of the world’ – where Moloney originally hails from. Melbourne also boasts the largest number of Greek expatriates in the world who would undoubtedly come out to support Kambosos, who has Greek heritage.
Either option is fine with Garcia.
“I read a little bit about Bob Arum saying he might want to take Teofimo Lopez to fight George Kambosos in Australia and have Franco-Moloney III as the co-main event,” he said. “I think it would be a huge event in Australia. I’ve never been there and I have very good friends in Australia, so I would love to go.
“Obviously our management team and our attorneys, they have to make a good negotiation to be able to take us to Australia, but I would love to. I wouldn’t want the fight to happen in Las Vegas anymore because I don’t want there to be any excuses. I don’t want anything to go wrong again. If we could do it somewhere else like California maybe – I won’t even ask for Texas because that is where Franco is from – but we’ll go to Australia, I don’t mind going to Australia.”
Moloney got off to a fast start against Franco in their first fight in Las Vegas in June, but the challenger came into his own in the middle rounds and dropped Moloney in the 11th to clinch the victory on the scorecards.
Garcia says he was expecting a similar performance from Franco in the rematch.
“I know my fighter and even though he was losing the first two rounds, he was losing the first two rounds in the first fight also but after three or four rounds he started connecting, started picking it up and put a beating on Moloney the first fight,” he said.
“I think the same thing was going to happen in the second fight, maybe even worse because I know my fighter, I know Joshua Franco, and I know that after three rounds he was going to start hurting Moloney and I had a good feeling he was going to stop Moloney. But you know, we didn’t get to see that. It didn’t happen.
“We are willing to give them a rematch right away. As soon as we heal, I don’t mind going to Australia. Why not?”
For the full interview with Roberto Garcia, visit The KO Boxing Show YouTube page here.