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Jason Moloney coming in hot for Leonardo Baez bout in Las Vegas on Thursday

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former bantamweight world title challenger Jason Moloney 20-1 (17) says he is not fazed by a late change of opponent ahead of his Las Vegas debut.

The 29-year-old Australian was scheduled to face Oscar Negrete 19-2-2 (7) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand on June 25 before the tough Colombian was forced to withdraw with an eye injury.

In his place will be rangy Mexican Leonardo Baez 18-2 (9) for the 10-round bout.

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“I’ve been watching a lot of Baez since he was confirmed as my new opponent,” Moloney said in an exclusive interview with Maxboxing.

“He’s a tall, rangy Mexican brawler who is currently rated #5 in the world at super bantamweight. He trains under Joel Diaz and is from a good stable of fighters.

“I’m expecting a really tough fight but I have worked extremely hard for this fight and will do whatever it takes to win and continue charging towards my dream of becoming world champion.”

It’s not the first time Moloney has had to deal with a late replacement.

“This is boxing and you always have to expect the unexpected. I have had to adjust a late replacement before,” he said.

“I’ve had nearly 100 fights in total, amateur and professional and sparred hundreds of different people and styles. I’m prepared to face and beat anybody they put in front of me.

“Both Negrete and Baez have quite similar styles. The only difference really is their height as Baez is quite tall at 5’9”.

“We have brought in a couple of taller sparring partners and I’m confident that his height won’t be an issue.”

Moloney and his twin brother Andrew have used to coronavirus lockdown period as an opportunity to improve their game.

“I’m a true professional. This isolation period has really shown who the true dedicated fighters are,” he said.

“We have our own private gym that no one has access to so Andrew and I continued to train every single day.

“Even when it didn’t look like we would be fighting for a long time, we stayed in the gym and continued to improve.

“Once we got permission to travel, Top Rank asked us when we would be ready and we said once we land in Vegas, you can drive us straight to the venue. We are ready to go!”

Moloney will be fighting in the US for the second time in his career following his razor-thin split decision loss to IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in the quarterfinal of the World Boxing Super Series two years ago.

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