Dan Rafael: Sergio Mora

GGG taking SoCal by storm

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s West Coast debut is already a hit. Due to overwhelming ticket demand, K2 Promotions is putting $27 standing room only tickets on sale for Golovkin’s defense Oct. 8 (HBO) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“In the first two weeks, we've sold over 75 percent of the available tickets to [the card dubbed] ‘Mexican Style,’ which truly validates the popularity of Gennady on the West Coast,” Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions said. “This speaks to Gennady’s growing global brand, as he is willing to fight in locations around the world unlike many champions who only fight in one city or one state. We’re happy to announce the unprecedented addition of standing room only tickets in order to meet the demand from boxing fans for this event.”

• Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora announced on his Twitter page that he has signed with adviser Al Haymon. Mora (26-3-2, 9 KOs), 33, of East Los Angeles, has won three fights in a row, including his past two by knockout. His signing with Haymon harkens back to Haymon’s start in boxing. His first client was the late Vernon Forrest, whom Mora outpointed to win a junior middleweight belt in 2008. Three months later, Forrest outpointed Mora in the rematch to reclaim the title in what was Forrest's final fight, as 10 months later, he was murdered. Mora and Haymon were on opposite sides then, and now they are together. Mora will continue to be promoted by Lou DiBella, who has a longstanding business relationship with Haymon.

• Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 16 KOs) of Japan will face mandatory challenger (and former junior bantamweight titlist) Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (37-5-1, 16 KOs) of Thailand on Oct. 22 in Tokyo. Yamanaka, a southpaw, will be making his seventh defense. A lightweight undercard bout will pit former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Takahiro Ao (26-3-1, 12 KOs) of Japan, and former junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-3-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico.

Molina added to Ward-Rodriguez

October, 25, 2013
Former lightweight title challenger John Molina, super middleweight Brandon Gonzalez and former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora will appear in separate bouts on the undercard of super middleweight champion Andre Ward’s return, promoter Dan Goossen announced this week.

Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), returning from a 14-month layoff because of a shoulder injury, is the main attraction as he defends his title against top contender Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs) on Nov. 16 (HBO) at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., in the main event. Molina and Gonzalez highlight the undercard, although HBO will carry only the main event.

Molina (26-3, 21 KOs), who will face an opponent to be named in an eight-round bout, is just 2-2 in his past four bouts, but usually brings some drama to his fights. He got knocked out in 44 seconds by then-lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco in September 2012 on Ward’s last undercard but returned for an impressive fourth-round knockout of Dannie Williams in January. Then came a tight majority decision loss to Andrey Klimov. But Molina got back on track again in July with a dramatic come-from-behind 10th-round knockout of Mickey Bey in the final minute of the fight.

Gonzalez (17-0-1, 10 KOs), who shares trainer Virgil Hunter with Ward, is due to face Jonathan Nelson (19-0, 9 KOs), who beat Gonzalez in a 2006 amateur meeting. Gonzalez is coming off his biggest fight, a disappointing 10-round draw with Thomas Oosthuizen on HBO in June.

Mora is on the card because his new promoter, Lou DiBella, also promotes Rodriguez and got a slot for a fight on the card as part of the deal. Mora (24-3-2, 7 KOs), who faces Colombia’s Milton Nunez (26-8-1, 24 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight fight, is 3-3-1 in his past six bouts but is coming off a solid win against former European champion Grzegorz Proksa in June.

In another undercard fight, 2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina (6-0, 5 KOs and no relation to John) takes on Carlos Sanchez (6-4, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.

Sergio Mora signs with DiBella

July, 30, 2013
Sergio MoraAP Photo/Damian DovarganesSergio Mora will get another opportunity after signing with DiBella Entertainment.

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.

Figueroa, Mora line up fights

February, 19, 2013
Junior welterweight prospect Omar Figueroa and former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora both will be in action on a couple of recently announced fight cards:

• The all-action Figueroa (19-0-1, 15 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, will headline a March 2 card (Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes) at Our Lady of the Lake University Wellness & Activities Center in San Antonio. Figueroa will face Henry Aurad (14-6-1, 11 KOs) of Colombia in a scheduled eight-rounder. Also on the card will be Houston junior middleweight prospect Jermall Charlo (11-0, 7 KOs), the twin brother of fellow prospect Jermell Charlo, in an eight-rounder; and Dallas welterweight prospect Errol Spence Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, in a four-rounder. Their opponents are not set.

• Mora (23-3-2, 7 KOs), a former winner of "The Contender" reality series who later won a 154-pound world title, will travel to the Phoenix area (venue to be announced) to face hometown fighter Jesus Gonzalez in a middleweight bout on April 19. Mora will be looking to rebound from his majority decision loss to Brian Vera in their rematch last August. Gonzalez (27-2, 14 KOs) will be fighting for the first time since last February, when Adonis Stevenson knocked him out cold in the first round of a super middleweight title eliminator in Montreal.

"Jesus had a rough night against Stevenson in Canada, but he has been preparing for this return and is ready to make an impact at middleweight," said Ralph Velez Jr. of FanBase Promotions. "The power he brings to the middleweight division makes him an instant title contender."

The fight could wind up on ESPN2, which is considering picking up the card for that date.

Mora out to get even with Vera

June, 16, 2012
Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora (23-2-2, 7 KOs), who won the first season of "The Contender" reality series, lost a 10-round upset split decision in February 2011 against Brian Vera (20-6, 12 KOs), who participated in a later season of "The Contender." Mora has one win since but few options because his un-fan-friendly style has turned off the premium networks. So he'll take on Vera in a rematch on "Solo Boxeo Tecate" looking to even the score. They meet in a scheduled 10-rounder on Aug. 11 at the Illusions Theater at the Alamodome in San Antonio.