Leaving Las Vegas is the theme for fight promoter Top Rank Boxing

Man in black boxing glovesLas Vegas has had its share of issues over the years, but it just got hit with a powerful left hook from Top Rank Boxing. The fight promoting company’s founder and CEO, Bob Arum, jumped off the top rope this weekend, slamming the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for not doing its job. As a result, Arum is reportedly fed up with the way things are going in Vegas and is ready to take his fights elsewhere.

This past Saturday, there was a WBA bout between flyweight champion Joshua Franco and Andrew Moloney, and the result had a lot of people scratching their heads. The fight was called a no-contest after just two rounds when Franco’s right eye swelled shut and the ref, Russell Mora, stopped the match. The decision was marred in controversy from its announcement, both for the ref’s accusation of how the boxer was left partially and temporarily blind, and with the NSAC for not stepping in.

The ref had asserted that Mora took an illegal head-butt from Moloney in the first round of the match. A ringside doctor backed up the belief that the injury was severe enough to stop the fight, which prevented Moloney from reclaiming the title he lost to Franco this past summer. When the reason for the injury was given, few were happy and Arum tried to plead his case with the NSAC’s executive director, Bob Bennett. However, his words had about as much impact as a toddler hitting Mike Tyson in the gut.

A number of sports outlets covered the action and were quick to show the match in slo-mo replays. At no point can Moloney be seen head-butting – accidentally or otherwise – Franco. The only contact that came close to the eye was a fair jab that landed on its target, but neither the ref nor the NSAC would listen to reason. Arum went so far as to accuse the NSAC of reacting only to protect the ref’s reputation and, when asked what he plans on doing now, Arum told reporter Sean Zittel that he was considering abandoning Vegas, but with more colorful language.

Moloney was just as irritated. He initially thought he had won when the ref stopped the fight and would tell ESPN after the match, I can’t believe they took this away from me. I’ve trained my ass off the last five months. Been away from my family, and they just take it away from me.”

Moloney, the underdog going into the bout, was the clear winner up until the point the match was called. He landed 25 of his shots to Franco’s 11 in the first round and, if he wants, could try to appeal the decision. However, at this point, that would be like shadow boxing at midnight.