Football’s VAR debate does not appear to be fading away any time soon, and the conversation has now flared up within boxing.
On Saturday night, the Nevada Commission’s video replay system took 25 minutes to reach a verdict on the Joshua Franco vs Andrew Moloney rematch, with many observers disagreeing with the officials’ eventual decision.
Franco beat Moloney when they first met earlier this year and took his WBA ‘regular’ super-flyweight belt.
In the rematch, Moloney started well in the opening round and Franco’s right eye began to swell.
Referee Robert Byrd declared after the first that he believed the swelling was caused by a headbutt from the Australian.
By the end of round two, the eye was swollen shut and Byrd was forced to stop the contest.
Moloney began to celebrate believing he’d won by stoppage, however the true result was a no decision meaning that Franco would retain his belt.
The challenger then disputed Byrd’s call, insisting it was punches, rather than a headbutt, which caused the swelling.
If this were proved to be the case, he would have regained the belt.
Nevada officials then spent an extraordinarily long 25 minutes (which delayed Terence Crawford vs Kell Brook) attempting to figure out the truth.
An apparent consensus emerged on social media – as replays were shown again and again – that Moloney was correct and punches appeared to have caused the injury.
25 minutes later though, the Nevada Commission decided to stand by their referee’s initial call and ruled a no decison.
Moloney’s promoter Bob Arum reacted: “This is an absolute disgrace. There was no headbutt. Andrew Moloney should be the new champion.”
The 88-year-old then confronted Nevada Commission executive director Bob Bennett and the pair had to be separated as their dispute became heated.