Thursday, June 27, 2013
Mora, Proksa look to rebound on FNF
By Bernardo Pilatti
Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora and middleweight title challenger Grzegorz Proksa enter Friday's bout with the same goal: returning to the top.
The two fighters, with very different styles, will face off in the main event of "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) in a 10-round middleweight bout from the Veteran's Coliseum in Jacksonville, Fla.
Mora (23-3-2, 7 KOs), 32, enters the fight fresh off a decision loss against Brian Vera in their rematch last August, which marked the third defeat in Mora's past six fights. He is most remembered for having been the champion of the first season of "The Contender" reality TV series, along with his 154-pound title victory over the late Vernon Forest in 2008. He also fought to a draw with Shane Mosley in 2010.
Proksa (29-2, 21 KOs), 28, is two fights removed from a stoppage loss against titlist Gennady Golovkin last September. Up until that point, his career had been in constant ascent. He won the European middleweight title on two occasions, and he counts former world titlist Sebastian Sylvester among his victims.
For both fighters, a victory could mark their return to a new title opportunity, giving the fight plenty of meaning. But their styles also could end up making for a very disputed outcome on the scorecards.
Proska, a native of Poland who resides in England, is a southpaw with good hand speed, plenty of power and a persistent jab, although his offense leaves many open spaces for counter shots.
Mora, for his part, is an experienced opponent, with good leg movement and fast hands, although he lacks punching power. He usually makes up for this deficiency by working the fight from many angles, being elusive at times, and using movement to avoid being hit.
His biggest shortcoming, however -- emphasized in his past few fights -- is his tendency to lose steam, which tends to be a complication for him in the last few rounds.
For Proksa, the biggest question will be whether he has put his loss against Golovkin behind him, or whether it will keep him worried by affecting his emotional strength.
The Polish fighter will likely apply pressure throughout the fight, while Mora will be trying to adapt to his opponent's southpaw stance from the beginning, moving and attacking from different angles.
Proksa is the favorite, and even though he'll be looking to score a knockout due to his aggressive style, this is unlikely to happen because Mora is a tough fighter to hit, let alone stop.
In the co-main event, 22-year-old unbeaten Brazilian brawler Patrick Teixeira (19-0, 17 KOs) faces Marcus Willis (13-2-2, 3 KOs) in a junior middleweight bout.