Although the focus on Top Rank’s return to Las Vegas this Saturday is on Terence Crawford’s welterweight title clash against Kell Brook, it’s chief support bout carries its own level of intrigue.
Earlier this summer, Andrew Moloney, one-half of the Australian duo The Moloney Twins, suffered his pro defeat at the hands of Joshua Franco. It was a close contest that saw Franco score an upset win on the scorecards and become the new WBA super flyweight titleholder.
But something happened to Moloney in that fight, something that doesn’t happen too often to fighters in big fights. During the fight, Moloney suffered not one but two perforated eardrums, stagnating the Australian in the later stages of the fight when Franco took over.
Now, both Moloney and Franco are set to do battle once again inside Top Rank’s Bubble in Las Vegas on November 14.
Though never one to make excuses, Moloney did admit that his perforated eardrums did affect his performance, even if it was ever so slightly. Still, Moloney doesn’t want that to take away from Franco’s performance back in June.
“It’s been public knowledge that both of my eardrums were perforated in that first fight. Look, I don’t want to make excuses, but it did affect my performance. My balance was affected quite a lot. it affected me from fighting at my best. But, look, he won the fight,” Moloney told me in a recent Zoom press conference.
Even though Moloney is fully healthy and ready to go, he knows that the fighter he was back in June might not cut it come fight night this Saturday. To him, there’s no reason he shouldn’t walk down to the ring in Las Vegas win back his title.
“There’s no excuses. I want to go into this fight and show that I’m much better than I was this first time around and win this rematch and put that behind me,” Moloney said.
On the flip side, Franco spent years searching for a signature win and a title prior to June. The victory over Moloney was the payoff of two years’ worth of extreme ups and downs in his career.
Starting in 2018, Franco suffered his first pro loss when he got stopped by Lucas Emanuel Fernandez. Seven months later, Franco went on to fight Oscar Negrete in the first fight of their hotly-contested trilogy that spanned 10 months.
Franco came out of that trilogy with a win and two draws. More importantly, he gained the necessary amount of experience needed to perform well in big fights and in big rematches.
Franco could go down that well of experience in important rematches, but understands that both Moloney and Negrete are different boxers.
“I’m just prepared for anything he brings. Like you said, I have the trilogy under the belt, but [Negrete and Moloney] are both different fighters. Once I step into the ring, I’m going to make my adjustments and do what I have to do to win,” Franco told me at that same Zoom press conference Moloney was at.
In the end, it will take Franco’s ability to adjust on the fly (a common element in notable boxers from Robert Garcia-trained boxers) to beat Moloney a second time.
“I feel confident because I’ve been in the ring with Andrew Moloney before. I know what he has. I’m always confident, of course. My training went well. I had a tough training camp, and that also brings my confidence up. I’m just ready for whatever. Very tough preparation in the gym. Eight hard weeks of training. I’m more than ready,” Franco also said.
Franco vs. Moloney 2 takes place on November 14 on ESPN on the Terence Crawford vs. Kell Brook main card.
Full video with Moloney and Franco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to8cvCnYCGg