LAS VEGAS — After a bizarre 26-minute delay in which replay official Robert Byrd and Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett watched the first round of the Joshua Franco-Andrew Moloney super flyweight title fight repeatedly looking for a head-butt, the bout was ruled a no-decision after two one-sided rounds.
Referee Russell Mora ruled in the first round of the WBA title fight that Moloney had hit Franco with a head-butt. Franco’s eye was badly swollen and caused the fight to be stopped at the end of the second on advice of ringside physician Raimundo Leon.
Bennett said after a careful examination of replay that not only included himself and Byrd, but referees Jay Nady and Mike Ortega, as well, they saw two instances of potential head-butts by Moloney to the right side of Franco’s face.
As a result, Franco retained the title.
“Subsequent review of instant replay revealed there were two possibilities of a head-butt to the fighter’s right eye,” Bennett told Yahoo Sports. “Clearly, you could see some jabs upon reviewing instant replay that just aggravated and made the eye worse.”
The call nearly brought Moloney, the former champion, to tears. Moloney dominated the first two rounds and was peppering Franco to the head and body.
“It’s wrong,” Moloney said of the decision, which was made while the fighters were standing in the ring, hands on hips, for nearly a half hour. “That belt means everything to me. I deserve it. I won that fight tonight. He did not touch me. I landed 50 jabs on that eye. That’s why it shut.”
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum was irate and said he felt it was clear that there was no head-butt. He said the swollen eye was caused by punches and that Moloney should have had the stoppage victory.
He was angry at the length the replay took, but saved most of his ire for Mora.
“I don’t know what the [expletive] he thinks he saw, but there was no butt,” Arum said. “They watched it over and over and it was obvious. It was from punches.”
Moloney manager Tony Tolj said he planned to file numerous protests in an attempt to have Moloney declared the champion.
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