Alexandro Santiago threw a spanner into Jason Moloney’s bantamweight unification plans with the legendary Nonito Donaire, the Mexican underdog claiming the vacant WBC world title with a unanimous-points win against the Filipino superstar on the Errol Spence Vs Terence Crawford undercard.
Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) clinched the WBO crown defeating Vincent Astrolabio this past May. Takuma Inoue and Emmanuel Rodriguez owning the WBA and IBF titles leaves the 118 pound division belts scattered across the globe.
The Australian reeled off the above list of fighters when discussing his first title defence shortly after his world title win in Stockton, California in the hope of catching a bite. Donaire’s promoter Richard Schaeffer mentioned a potential fight with Moloney prior to the loss, but it is Santiago who has unexpectedly jumped into the headlines.
“It was a good fight.” Moloney said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I was a bit disappointed, I did want Nonito to win. Obviously for me it was the fight I wanted, he’s the bigger name, probably the biggest name in the division. To fight a future hall-of-famer and a legend of the lighter weights in a unification world title fight would have been huge, I did want him to win the WBC title and hoped to have a unification later in the year, but he was beaten. It's unfortunate, I guess once you get to 40 years old there will be a time when father time catches up to you.
“He started off the fight well I thought. He took the first two or three rounds and I thought he was going to get the job done. I actually thought Santiago looked a bit out of his depth in there with Nonito, and then pretty quick, the tides turned. Nonito faded pretty hard, I thought he lost the second part of the fight pretty convincingly. The scores reflected I guess."
Moloney switched track, continuing with a focus on a fellow world champion he believes could take the bait.
“I was disappointed but the goal for me is to win all the belts, to become undisputed.” Moloney stated. “Whoever holds the belts is not too much of my concern, so now the focus is on Santiago. It’s definitely a fight I want, a fight I’m hopeful we can make happen. He’s a good fighter and I believe I beat him, I’m sure they would like a unification too.
“Look! I’ve said in the past that I want to be back in December and I would love the fight to be in Australia. My team will have discussions, and hopefully we can get Santiago over to Australia. It is still early days, that is what I would like to happen. I see Emmanuel Rodriguez is fighting this month as well, that is another name I’m going after. There are some exciting fights, I’m really keen for the biggest and best fights possible. I just have to sit back, and work hard, but sit back and let my team do their job and put together the biggest fight we can, and hopefully that can happen in December in Australia. I think it is a very easy fight to [make] happen, when you got two guys that want to fight each other and combine the belts. I don’t think he has got a powerhouse promoter, I think Top Rank can get the job done and bring him out here. Hopefully they are interested in the fight, I know I am. We will have to wait and see how it plays out.
“There have been some talks, and Top Rank do seem interested which is positive.” Moloney continued. “There are a lot of pieces that need to fall into place, but that is what we are aiming for; December in Australia, or November, whenever it really works. But if it is in America, then it is in America. If it is Mexico, then it is Mexico. I’m happy to travel, but I would love the next fight to be in Australia.”
Moloney has found himself enjoying wins on some of the biggest shows in America and his native Australia. Now as champion, surely it is time to take the leading role once again?
“That’s what we want.” Moloney answered with a smile. “Obviously, I’ve done the hard yards, travelled and fought abroad for the majority during the last three years fighting in America. Now I got the title, I want to get the country behind me and put on big fights in Australia. I was involved on the undercards of both the [George] Kambosos-Devin Haney fights here last year. They were successful events and the whole country got behind them. It was amazing to be a part of it, but the whole time I was thinking that I want this to be, as you say, the Jason Moloney show. Headlining my own shows in the big stadiums and getting the whole country behind me.”