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The Reinvention of the Latin Snake

(Photo © K9 Photos)
(Photo © K9 Photos)


On September 18th, 2010, Sergio Mora faced Shane Mosley at the Staples Center in perhaps the biggest opportunity of his professional life. Sure, it was notable that he won the inaugural season of “The Contender” and had captured the WBC junior middleweight title by besting Vernon Forrest but to face a future Hall-of-Famer as the headlining performer on a pay-per-view card in his home city, well, that was something else.
 
It also turned out to be the worst night of his career.
 
Mora, who faces Grzegorz Proksa at the Veteran’s Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida on this week’s edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” says, “If I could take back time, believe me; I would get more aggressive. I wouldn’t rely on winning. My whole career, my strategy is just to win by any means necessary. It wasn’t to entertain and I think times have changed. The networks have changed. The promoters have changed and now, the exciting fighters are the ones getting the opportunity. If I could take back time, I would get aggressive, I wouldn’t rely on the lead and I would definitely just throw much punches to knock a guy who has never been KO’ed.”

Here’s the funny thing about his outing with Mosley - he didn’t actually lose that fight. After 12 rather dreary rounds, it was ruled a draw. But while Mosley was somehow able to parlay that into a fight with Manny Pacquiao, Mora was basically cast aside after this fight.
 
“I thought it was going to lead to something,” said Mora, at his Montebello, California, gym on Monday afternoon. “Even though it was a chess match and it was a draw. It was his first draw. Shane Mosley’s a legend. I thought for sure it would open up doors.”
 
Instead, they were slammed on him. He was given his release by his then-manager, Cameron Dunkin, and that was soon followed by Golden Boy Promotions letting him go. While Mosley went on to meet the “Pac-Man,” Mora was forced to meet Brian Vera in his next fight on ESPN2 where he was promptly upset by the rugged Texan.
 
After a bounce-back win against the aged Shibata Flores in November of 2011, he faced Vera again on enemy turf last August in San Antonio and was on the short end of a dubious verdict. If you go back to that broadcast, Vera’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, could clearly be heard admitting they were losing that fight in the late rounds.

But what’s the saying? Don’t mess with Texas?
 
And that certainly applied with Mora, who had no problems blasting what he believed was a political decision in the “Lone Star State” during his interview with Claudio Trejos.
 
In looking back, Mora laughs and, referencing this past weekend’s Showtime broadcast, says, “Well, I won’t go and bust a Paulie Malignaggi and say a bunch of stuff even though Paulie’s my boy and you know what? He made a lot of sense. I actually tweeted: ‘When keeping it real goes wrong - Dave Chappelle.’ Because [Malignaggi] just let it out too much. But he’s right; he’s absolutely right and I think in Texas that’s a dose of what I got and I let it out myself in Spanish and now that the politics are not on my side, on our side, the promoters are not really interested in using us as the A-side of the card, more the ‘name,’ the former champion and put him in with a young gun. Now we gotta take care of ourselves and speak up.”
 
Currently, the “Latin Snake” is self-promoted and he admitted it’s “very difficult because even when I get the opportunities to fight on television, I’m fighting in the guy’s hometown. Like for instance, this fight with Proksa, I’m fighting not in his hometown because he’s from Poland but I’m fighting on his promoter’s card, his promoter’s date.”
 
And he’s clearly the B-side in this equation.
 
“That’s the way they might see it, for me, I’m the A-side. I’ve been on ESPN five times. Proksa hasn’t been on ESPN. So as long as I’m on television and I’m on ESPN commentating, I’m not afraid of being the B-side,” he reasons.
 
There was a time when Mora was on the other side of the tracks.  He was with “The Contender” and parlayed that into some major showcases and lucrative paydays. Then he had a stretch with Golden Boy Promotions. He’s been at the Big Show now. He’s like that independent minor league franchise.
 
“Patience and matchmaking” is how he has persevered through it all, he states.”Dean [Campos] isn’t only my strength trainer and conditioner and everything else but he’s also my matchmaker. You’ve got to know what fights to accept and what fights not to accept and match the risk with the record. We’ve been able to turn down the right fights, accept the right ones and in 17 years, I’ve never taken a beating. I’ve never remotely come close to being outclassed or losing badly. That’s due to great matchmaking. Now I’m at a point in my career where I want another title shot at middleweight and I’m not going to it unless I start taking some chances.
 
“We switched some things and I think you’ll notice a difference this Friday.”
 
Mora, at age 32 but with still less than 30 pro bouts to his credit (in which he has compiled a ledger of 23-3-2 (7)) believes there is plenty left in the gas tank. But seriously, can a leopard truly change his spots? Can Mora really become a risk-taking, fan-friendly fighter?
 
I mean, c’mon…really?!
 
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” he insisted without hesitation. If…if  that doesn’t happen this Friday, then you can write all the negative things you can and I’m going to publically tweet about it: Steve Kim is absolutely right about this.”
 
He laughs as he says this but he’s dead serious. He states now that he has an emphasis on the quality of punches and not just the pure quantity. Also, he’s made some technical adjustments with Campos in the way he throws his shots. He points out that a Bernard Hopkins has gone through several transformations as a fighter. While he’s never been known as an Arturo Gatti-type, his rematch last year with Vera was an entertaining one.
 
So yeah, Mora will try and reinvent himself ala Madonna.
 
It’s all part of the rollercoaster ride this boxing career has been for him. He admits to being embittered the past couple of years as his fortunes took a downward turn but he says now he has let that all go and it’s brought him a fresh perspective on his journey.
 
“Are you kidding me? It’s been an amazing ride. It’s been a great ride, a successful ride,” he says.”I’ve made really good money; my face has been shown around the world. I won a world title against a legitimate fighter and I’ve been in there with Shane Mosley and some really good competition and I’ve been overlooked a lot of times but now, looking back on my career, I’m very happy.”
 
But it’s clear; Mora wants to write a few more chapters in his story.
 
 
“I just want a shot at the middleweight title, my official weight because that’s the weight I’m very comfortable at. My entire career’s been at middleweight, only three fights out of 28 have been at 154. It takes too much for me to make that weight. If I get a crack at the middleweights, at [Gennady] Golovkin, at [Felix Sturm], at [Daniel] Geale, at [Julio] Cesar Chavez Jr., you’ll see what I can do at my natural weight.”

TNR

Here’s the latest installment of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thenextround/2013/06/25/the-next-round-episode-436

TIX

As the national press tour for the September 14th showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez made its stop in Washington D.C., tickets for this event went on sale Tuesday afternoon and (like in the past) you heard from disgruntled fans on Twitter that within minutes - or even a minute - that were shut out. And of course they would be forced to immediately go to ticket brokers where those coveted tickets are already being marked up at a steep rate.

(I’ve written about this issue before: http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/are-fans-getting-sold-out-of-big-fights.)

This scenario isn’t going away anytime soon and when you have a fight like Mayweather-“Canelo,” where there is a huge demand, well, you may want to refinance your home to gain entry into this event. Unlike Mayweather’s last bout versus Robert Guerrero back in May, don’t expect tickets to dive on the secondary market this time around. This will be a seller’s market for “The One.”

Let’s not be naïve: this isn’t just exclusive to the biggest boxing events. Try and obtain tickets to the Super Bowl and Final Four and you’ll be at the mercy of the ticket brokers. But you’d hope that the fans who consistently support cards in venues like the Barclays Center and the Home Depot/StubHub Center, would at least be given a fair opportunity to purchase seats for the sports marquee events.

But who am I kidding?  I’m just a hopeless optimist.

THE ONE FLURRIES

Judging by the turnouts at these public press conferences for Mayweather-“Canelo,” there’s no doubt that this is a blockbuster of a promotion...Robert Marroquin headlines this week’s edition of “Solo Boxeo” on UniMas from the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK...The July 19th edition of “FNF” on ESPN2 has Ajose Olusegun face Hank Lundy...The latest installment of “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley” debuts on late Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) at 12:30 a.m. on HBO...Hard work!...Dedication!.....So when do NFL training camps begin?...I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” and I have to say I was bored to death...Remember when ESPN had to take “Playmakers” off the air at the behest of the NFL? Well, isn’t this Aaron Hernandez situation like an episode of that short-lived program?...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.
 


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