1988-07-29 Tomas Molinares nc 6 Marlon Starling, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - WBA

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1988-07-29 Tomas Molinares w co 6 Marlon Starling, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez. Unbeaten in 23 fights, the challenger started well, picking his punches cleverly, while Starling (147) was more cautious and bided his time. Eventually, Starling got his act together and by the fifth he was landing with combinations while Molinares (146¾), whose right eye was closing, appeared a little perturbed at that stage. The sixth round saw the fight end in most controversial circumstances. As the bell went to end the session, Starling dropped his hands just as Molinares stepped in with a tremendous right to his jaw to send him crashing and, at the same time, twisting his right ankle. The referee then applied the logic that the punch was already on its way as the bell went, counting Starling out ten seconds into the interval.

Despite the New Jersey State Boxing Commission changing the result to that of a no contest following the fight, the WBA continued to recognise Molinares as their champion, and the latter was matched against Seung-Soon Lee to find a successor.

Further to the formation of the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) in November, which came about after 27 delegates walked out of the WBA convention disgusted with the way things were being handled, the new organisation nominated Genaro Leon to meet Danny Garcia in order to decide their version of the vacant title.

Meanwhile, Molinares relinquished the WBA title in January 1989 when realising that he would be unable to make the weight for a defence against Mark Breland.