Andrew Moloney still awaits final marching orders for a third fight with Joshua Franco.
Until then, his motivation is found in a major fight ahead of his own—in fact, one of the biggest on the current boxing schedule.
The former junior bantamweight titlist is angling to avenge his lone career loss while regaining his old belt as talks remain ongoing for a date and location to once again Franco. No matter when and where the fight lands, it will come after the highly anticipated rematch between lineal 115-pound champion and WBC titlist Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3, 28KOs) and four-division and reigning WBA “Super” title claimant Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (50-2, 41KOs) which takes place March 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
“I’m really looking forward to this one,” Moloney told BoxingScene.com. “The first fight between these two was an amazing fight! Before their last fights I believed that Estrada would win the rematch but after their last performances I am now slightly leaning towards Chocolatito winning again.
“Whichever way it goes I expect it to be a great fight that deserves much more recognition than it’s getting.”
Nicaragua’s Gonzalez won their first fight more than eight years, claiming a 12-round decision in the final defense of his junior flyweight title reign.
Both have since moved up in weight. Estrada claimed two flyweight belts in a 12-round nod over Brian Viloria in April 2013 before going on to claim top honors at junior bantamweight in a revenge-fueled win over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in their April 2019 rematch. Gonzalez won the lineal flyweight championship in a Sept. 2014 knockout win over Akira Yaegashi, reigning for two years before moving up to claim the WBC 115-pound strap in a Sept. 2016 victory over unbeaten Carlos Cuadras.
Consecutive losses to Sor Rungvisai in 2017 saw Gonzalez fall from grace but has since resurfaced on the title stage following a 9th round knockout of unbeaten Kal Yafai last February in Frisco, Texas. Gonzalez and Estrada both made separate successful title defenses on the same show last October in Mexico City, setting up their mouthwatering rematch more than eight years in the making.
Moloney (21-1, 14KOs; 1ND) was in line to challenge Gonzalez, holding a secondary version of the WBA at the time before suffering a 12-round loss to Franco in their thriller last June in Las Vegas. Their rematch last November proved more memorable though for all of the wrong reasons, with the fight ending in controversy. Franco’s eye was swollen shut to where he could no longer continue at the start of round three, with the official ruling deeming the injury was caused by a headbutt.
An official complaint was since filed by Moloney, though the likelihood is that he walks into the third fight once again as the challenger. How he leaves the fight is what matters most, with a win putting him in position to call out the winner of the March 13 World junior bantamweight championship rematch.
“At the moment my focus is 100% on Joshua Franco and making sure that I reclaim the world title that should be mine right now,” insists Moloney. “After that fight, I would love the opportunity to take on either Estrada or Chocolatito.
“Obviously facing the winner would be my preference but both guys are legends of the lighter weight divisions and it would be an honor to share the ring with either of them.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox