Jason Moloney made his third chance count, winning his first world title by beating Vincent Astrolabio to win the vacant WBO bantamweight title.
The result was a majority decision on scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112. Bad Left Hook had it 116-112 on both of our two unofficial cards, which clashes with the ESPN commentary, where they seemed certain that Moloney had won every round of the fight, which definitely followed the narrative they started setting in about the second round, so about the standard ESPN house commentary job.
Moloney (26-2, 19 KO) deserves the win and the belt, mind you, and did a good job boxing cautiously and smartly, while Astrolabio (18-4, 13 KO) seemed in love with the idea of his power making the difference. It didn’t, because he never had a Plan B after Moloney shut down Plan A.
Moloney, 32, had previously lost in title bids against Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018 and Naoya Inoue in 2020. He did not make the sort of mistakes we’ve seen from him in the past, and clearly he and his team came in here respecting Astrolabio’s power, as they should have.
The fight was booed pretty heartily by the crowd in Stockton, Calif., because it simply wasn’t very entertaining, but Moloney did the job in front of him and can finally say he’s world champion.
For the 26-year-old Astrolabio, you figure this is a learning experience, because his game will have to be more well-rounded from here on. There’s plenty of tape on him now, including 12 rounds here indicating exactly how he can be shut down.
Moloney vs Astrolabio highlights
There really aren’t any to post because it wasn’t a very exciting fight at all. We’ll leave this section here because they probably will add something soon enough.
Undercard highlights and results
- Gabriel Flores Jr KO-1 Derrick Murray: A 27-second knockout at home in Stockton for Flores, who comes back with a win to go to 22-2 (8 KO). The days of Flores, 23, being a top Top Rank prospect are over, but the company clearly still think there might be something there, or else, frankly, they’d have cut him. They’ve cut fighters for less than getting dominated by Luis Alberto Lopez and Giovanni Cabrera. But Flores is still young, has fans in Stockton, and even though this was low level (Murray is now 17-9-1 and is a club fighter) and meant to get Flores going again after 10 months off, he shouldn’t be totally written off as a potential contender. Good KO, too.
- Ruben Villa KO-5 Maickol Lopez Villagrana: I’ve long been a very big supporter of Villa’s, and it’s good to see him back, first of all, and finally with a power promoter behind him. Villa (20-1, 7 KO) looked terrific here, and I’ll say it again as I’ve said many times before: He’s a serious threat to everyone in the featherweight division. There is not one featherweight out there right now that I think Villa can’t beat. He gave Emanuel Navarrete his toughest fight at 126, he beat Shakur Stevenson in the amateurs, this is a very talented fighter, and he’s still just 26. Even though he hadn’t fought in 13 months, he looked really sharp. With Top Rank behind him, his path back to another world title shot is going to be a lot less difficult, politically.