- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Middleweight Sergio Mora, a former junior middleweight titlist and first-season winner of “The Contender” reality series, signed Tuesday with promoter Lou DiBella.
“I have always respected Lou for his bold ways and honesty,” Mora, known as “The Latin Snake,” said. “Lou is very knowledgeable and experienced and he is passionate and really cares about his fighters and the sport as a whole. Having the opportunity to work with someone like Lou is a blessing and an honor.
“I want to fight the top 160-pounders in the world, and the best is Sergio Martinez, who just happens to also be promoted by Lou.”
DiBella is heavily involved in the middleweight division. Besides promoting Martinez, the champion, he also works with contenders Matthew Macklin and Andy Lee, so having another solid middleweight on his roster made sense.
“It was a no-brainer of a signing,” DiBella said.
Mora (24-3-2, 7 KOs), 32, of Los Angeles, is just 2-2 in his past four fights, but both losses were debatable decisions to Brian Vera. Mora also won his last fight, looking very good in a decision win against former European champion Grzegorz Proksa on June 28.
The rap on Mora for years is that he is anything but a crowd-pleasing fighter, but as he has gotten a little older he has slowed down a touch and also come to realize that if he wants to get another significant fight he is going to have to be a bit more entertaining. His recent fights have been more crowd-pleasing than earlier in his career.
“Sergio is going to get another good fight,” DiBella said. “And I think he’s become a more pleasing fighter. I thought he fought a great fight against Proksa and the fights with Vera were both pleasing and I thought he won at least one of them and neither of them were boring.”
DiBella does not have a fight set for Mora yet but said he would fight in the fall.
“Say what you want, but Mora is, and has been for many years, one of the most skilled middleweights in the world,” DiBella said.
In 2008, Mora outpointed the late Vernon Forrest to win a 154-pound world title, but he lost a unanimous decision and the belt in the immediate rematch later that year. Two fights later, Mora held the heavily favored Shane Mosley to a draw in September 2009. Mora won “The Contender” tournament and the $1 million grand prize in 2005.