Updated June 25, 2020 - 10:17 pm
Andrew Moloney squandered the most consequential opportunity of his career Tuesday.
His twin brother, Jason, maximized the most consequential opportunity of his career Thursday.
Moloney salvaged the week for his family, scoring a technical knockout over Leonardo Baez in Moloney’s Las Vegas debut in the main event of Top Rank’s sixth boxing card inside the MGM Grand’s Grand Ballroom during the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew lost a decision and his WBA junior bantamweight title Tuesday to Joshua Franco. But Jason, a bantamweight, was clinical Thursday in battering Baez so badly that his corner stopped the fight after the seventh round as he gasped for air with cuts adjacent to each eye.
“That was the greatest moment of my career,” said Moloney (21-1, 18 knockouts).
The 29-year-olds from Australia established their billing as talented fighters in their homeland before venturing to Las Vegas in May, hoping for fights that weren’t exactly guaranteed amid the virus.
But Top Rank configured its bubble inside the MGM Grand and subsequently fights for both fighters, who long had dreamed of success in Las Vegas. Andrew (21-1, 14 KOs) debuted in Tuesday’s main event and was floored by Franco in the 11th round during a unanimous decision loss, after which he was hospitalized.
“It was tough watching my brother the other night,” Jason said, “but I knew I had a job to do.”
Jason Moloney opened as the aggressor and went to work in the trenches, maintaining close proximity to Baez (18-3, nine KOs) while pummeling his body with power punches. He cut the 24-year-old Mexican in the second round and then in the fifth.
Baez’s corner finally bowed out on his behalf in the seventh.
And now Moloney presses toward title contention.
“My brother told me he loved me and that he was proud of me,” Moloney said. “He’ll be back better than ever. Trust me.”
Top Rank undercard
— In the co-feature, lightweight Abraham Nova (19-0, 14 KOs) rolled to a 99-91, 97-93, 96-94 win over Avery Sparrow (10-2, three KOs).
— Featherweight Orlando Gonzalez-Ruiz (15-0, 10 KOs) dropped Luis Porozo (15-3, eight KOs) twice en route to a 77-73, 77-73, 76-74 unanimous decision.
— Super welterweight Vlad Kanin (8-1, four KOs) edged Benjamin Whitaker (13-4, three KOs) for a 58-56, 58-56, 57-57 majority decision.
— Welterweight Reymond Yanong (11-5-1, nine KOs) worked his way to a 59-55, 58-56, 56-58 split decision over Clay Burns (9-8-2, four KOs).
— Heavyweight Kingsley Ibeh (4-1, four KOs) stopped Waldo Cortes Acosta (5-3, two KOs) with a series of uppercuts to secure a technical knockout 1:41 into the first round.