Thursday, September 24, 2009
Mora wants to be 'fighting consistently'
By Dan Rafael
LOS ANGELES -- Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora, best known for winning the first season of the boxing reality show "The Contender," signed Thursday with manager Cameron Dunkin, about a month after parting ways with promoter Tournament of Contenders.
Mora had managed himself throughout his career, but after splitting with TOC, he decided he needed representation.
"'The Contender' did a lot for me and I am happy for what they did, but I want to be active and fighting consistently. I haven't fought for a year," Mora told ESPN.com. "I'm ready to win a world title at middleweight and this time when I win a title I want to keep it. Cameron has a lot of good fighters and he's an experienced manager willing to invest in me. I'm dying to fight and I'm dying to fight the best."
The pairing is an interesting one because Dunkin also manages middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who was supposed to defend against Mora in June. Pavlik promoter Top Rank had made a deal with TOC but the fight was canceled because of a contract dispute between Pavlik and Top Rank, which has since been smoothed over.
However, Pavlik has moved on and, assuming he is medically cleared after dealing with a staph infection, is scheduled to defend against Paul Williams on Dec. 5.
"I still want to fight Pavlik or Paul Williams. I'm not sure if it can happen, but I think Cameron can get me the big fights," Mora said. "I want to go in there with the best and I want to prove myself with the best."
Dunkin said he's starting to look around for a promoter for Mora.
"I'm looking to do something with him and making something good happen for him," Dunkin said. "He's a good looking guy, a middleweight, Hispanic, an ex-world champion and still young. He has a lot of positives. I want to speak with whoever is interested in him and try to make him the best deal, get him active and get him out there."
Whatever issues there may have been over the aborted Pavlik-Mora fight, they have been worked out.
"Kelly didn't sign a contract to fight him and I sure didn't sign a contract," said Dunkin, who tried to sign Mora out of the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials. "So there's no issue with us. He said, 'I'm here, I am ready to fight and I am ready to go. Just show me where to go and let's go.' He's got a great attitude. He's not holding any grudges. I can get with a promoter who can make a plan with us. This guy will be champion again."
Mora (21-1-1, 5 KOs), 28, hasn't fought since Sept. 13, 2008, when he lost a lopsided unanimous decision and his title in a rematch to the late Vernon Forrest. Mora said he was severely drained for the fight trying to make 154 pounds.
Mora won the title in June 2008, claiming a majority decision against Forrest to become the first fighter from the reality series to win a world title.
Mora said he and his attorney met with Mark Burnett, one of the executive producers of "The Contender" and a principal in the promotional company, about a month ago and that he was let out of his promotional contract after coming to terms on a financial settlement with TOC, which owed him fights.
Now, Mora and Dunkin are looking for a new promoter.
"I met with Bob Arum [of Top Rank] last week. We also want to meet with Golden Boy," Mora said. "Gary Shaw has shown interested, Dan Goossen. Whoever is interested. I want to show them what can do. I don't want to go to a promoter and just wait for fights."
Dunkin also recently signed junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley and also manages, among others, featherweight titleholder Steven Luevano, interim junior bantamweight titlist Nonito Donaire and 2008 Russian Olympian Matvey Korobov, a rising prospect.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.