Commentary: Joshua Franco-Andrew Moloney 2 controversy gives boxing another black eye
Instant replay was implemented to prevent injustices, yet on Saturday evening, boxing fans around the world witnessed an indisputable injustice as junior bantamweight Andrew Moloney was fleeced of a second-round TKO victory over Joshua Franco in their anticipated rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Referee Russell Mora, whose ignominious reputation for blowing calls has made him the focal point of criticism before, made yet another glaring error.
Mora incorrectly ruled that a headbutt caused the swelling that completely shut Franco’s right eye, resulting in the fight being ruled a no-decision after two rounds.
Moloney, who was out for revenge after Franco dropped and outpointed him back in June, immediately jumped atop the ropes in jubilation.
But that jubilation quickly turned to despondency as the Nevada State Athletic Commission took nearly half an hour to review a call that was clear as day. That should have been enough of an indication that something absurd was about to occur. After all, the fight only lasted six minutes!
ESPN replay clearly showed a sharp left jab caused immediate swelling on Franco’s right eye. And despite veteran referees Robert Byrd, Jay Nady, and NSAC executive director Bob Bennett reviewing instant replay, they still came up with the wrong answer.
It is just laughable incompetence at this point. But no one should be surprised at this latest travesty despite the fact that Nevada recently revamped their instant replay system to “fix” potential mistakes both in boxing and MMA.
I thought for a brief moment that the sport I love dearly couldn’t possibly have another episode as embarrassing as this one. Then came the news of the California State Athletic Commission assigning the wrong fighters and corners to the scorecards, resulting in Henry Arredondo initially being announced as the majority decision winner over Eros Correa at the Staples Center in LA.
Yes, rubbish scorecards are just the tip of the iceberg in this sport.
The year 2020 has given boxing fans quite the acid trip. Don’t forget the ill-fated junior flyweight contest between Seniesa Estrada and previously undefeated Miranda Adkins back in July that lasted a mere seven seconds. According to an exclusive report from The Ring released just four days after the fight, it was learned that Adkins had padded her record with strippers with little to no fighting experience with the help of her now-ex-husband, promoter John Carden.
Like instant replay, the rise of sanctioning bodies was supposed to create positive change within the sport. Thus came the rise of mandatory title shots, which allowed worthy contenders a shot at the champion. Sounds like a great deal, right? Now sanctioning bodies are largely out of control. There is a preposterous number of titleholders per weight class, mandatory title shots that no one wants, not to mention the creation of additional weight classes that make no sense.
All hail the bridgerweights! At this juncture, you might as well create the WBE and call it “We Belt Everyone.”
If we learned anything yesterday, it’s to be careful what you wish for.