There wasn’t anything about his title-winning effort over Andrew Moloney which surprised Joshua Franco.
Heading into the fight as the B-side on a rival promoter’s show, the San Antonio-bred junior bantamweight expected to come in as the considerable underdog for his June 23 win over Moloney at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. He was fully prepared for a tough fight from an unbeaten and defending secondary titlist.
When all was said and done, there was a part of him that expected the judges to try to steal the moment.
“I just knew to be prepared for anything,” Franco (17-1-2, 8KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “Any time you’re on another promoter’s show, you just have to give that little bit extra to remove any doubt.”
Franco appeared to have done just that once he sent Australia’s Moloney (21-1, 14KOs) to the canvas in the 11th round of their ESPN headliner.
A nip-and-tuck affair to that point appeared to have been out of reach for the fallen titlist, who bravely fought through two perforated eardrums to finish the fight on his feet and head held high. As it turned out, the knockdown would provide the margin of victory for Franco, winning by scores of 114-113, 114-113 and 115-112.
Most observers were annoyed by the latest in a string of questionable scorecards turned in from the Vegas judges, though it seemed to bother the fans more so than the victor.
“All I remember was hearing those words, ‘…and the NEW,’” Franco recalls. “I knew that I landed the right combination of punches and the knockdown to have won the fight.”
Earning the upset victory proved beneficial to gamblers who placed their money on the longshot underdog. Moloney was upwards of a 12-1 favorite heading into the bout, but bet all the way down to 4-1 at some sportsbooks. Franco literally overcame the odds to achieve his career-long goal, making a lot of people happy.
Not that he didn’t expect it to play out any other way.
“I wasn’t surprised. I expected to go in as the underdog,” noted Franco. “He’s undefeated and a world champion. It was Top Rank (Moloney’s promoter) running the show.
“I didn’t really pay attention to how people were betting. When I heard about it, I was like OK cool. They had confidence in me. I didn’t let it get to me. My plan was always to just go in the ring and do what I do best.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox