The second instalment of the Moloney twins sees action at the head of Thursday’s Top Rank card on ESPN, again from The Bubble inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
This time its the turn of Jason Moloney (20-1, KO17) who attempts to return to World title level after a brave but unsuccessful challenge for the World title in 2018.
Jason will be looking to ensure the Moloney’s leave America with at least one win under their belts as Andrew lost earlier in the week in a razor thin decision, and it’s a ten round assignment at Bantamweight for Jason against Leonardo Baez (18-2, KO9).
Heavy handed 29-year-old Moloney has been a professional since August 2014, and his first eight fights all went via the short route.
He made history in February 2018, becoming part of the first twins to simultaneously hold Commonwealth titles after he beat Immanuel Naidjala in three rounds for the Bantamweight crown.
His breakout win came in May 2018, when he forced former two time WBA Super-Flyweight champion, Kohei Kono, to retire after five rounds of action. It was a faded version of Kono, and he was down in the fifth session, and was pulled out by the doctor due to a severe eye injury sustained in the third round. This performance paved the way for a first venture outside of Australia.
The Bantamweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series. His quarter final assignment was a tough one, but he put in a spirited performance in a challenge for the IBF Bantamweight title against the dangerous Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Moloney gave as good as he got, and was unlucky to drop a split decision by two points on two of the cards, while winning by the same margin on the third.
Moloney is unbeaten in three since, albeit against limited opposition. Cris Paulino was stopped in five in March 2019, and Goodluck Marema was knocked out in three less than three months later.
In his most recent outing, Moloney knocked out Nicaraguan former World title challenger Dixon Flores in two in Melbourne back in November 2019. Moloney’s opponent in Las Vegas is durable, and has only been stopped once in 20 visits to the ring.
There was no disgrace in Leonardo Baez’ sole early reverse, with current WBC Flyweight champion, Julio Cesar Martinez halting him in two back in April 2016.
The 24-year-old’s only other defeat came in September 2018 when clearly outscored over ten by Alfredo Mejia Vargas. Baez is since unbeaten in six, and has gone a ten round distance three times during that time.
His last appearance was in February this year, when he scored a mild upset in winning every round of eight against former interim WBA Super-Bantamweight champion, Moises Flores.
Prediction: Moloney will of course be looking to catch the eye, but Baez is a tough customer, and is used to lasting the distance. The Aussie should be able to see off some early pressure from the Mexican, before pulling away down the stretch for a wide points triumph.
Albany, New York based, Puerto Rican, Abraham Nova (18-0, KO14) aims to make a TV splash in a ten rounder at Lightweight on the card against Avery Sparrow (10-1, KO3). This match is an intriguing one, as Sparrow has arguably mixed in better company compared to Nova, and has one disqualification loss on his slate.
Nova has recently been campaigning between the USA and Belgium, but has also boxed in Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Mexico.
An eight rounder at Super-Featherweight features another Puerto Rican in undefeated Orlando Gonzalez-Ruiz (14-0, KO10) and he will take on Ecuador’s Luis Porozo (15-2, KO8).