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Mosley isn’t overlooking Mora

02
Sep

The recent addition of the Daniel Ponce de Leon-Antonio Escalante fight to Golden Boy Promotion’s already stacked Sept. 18 card headlined by Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora officially makes the boxing show commemorating the Bicentennial of Mexico’s independence one the strongest pay-per-view lineups of the year.

The HBO Pay-Per-View show, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, boasts three solid undercard bouts supporting the Mosley-Mora junior middleweight fight. DeLeon-Escalante, a 12-round featherweight bout that will kick off the broadcast, has “fight of the year” written all over it. The other two bouts, Victor Ortiz vs. Vivian Harris and Saul Alvarez vs. Carlos Baldomir, are classic crossroads bouts pitting talented up-and-comers against hard-nosed, upset-minded veterans.

The main event might be the least-anticipated fight on the card.

It’s not because fans don’t respect Mosley. Despite laying an egg in a lopsided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May, the soon-to-be 39-year-old veteran has established himself as one of the most-accomplished ring warriors of the past 15 years. The Southern Californian has practically made Staples Center his “house” with his career-defining victories over Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito at the downtown L.A. arena.



It’s not because fans think the 12-round bout could be a dud, either. The Mayweather loss aside, Mosley usually makes for good fights. And though Mora is a boxer by nature, the 29-year-old East L.A. native’s last bout, a seventh-round stoppage of Calvin Green in April, was an entertaining scrap.

It isn’t because fans aren’t giving Mora a shot at winning. The Mayweather loss made Mosley look vulnerable. Some fans believe the veteran “got old” in that fight. Others maintain that he simply can’t handle boxers. Whatever the perspective is on Mosley, more than a few fans and boxing writers are picking Mora to pull the upset.

So why is Mosley-Mora getting the “meh” treatment on message boards and internet boxing forums? Well, the honest answer might be because Mora is involved.

Despite winning an alphabet 154-pound title by upsetting the late Vernon Forrest in June of 2008, boxing folks seem to have a hard time giving Mora respect.

Maybe it’s because he lost his junior middleweight belt to Forrest in an immediate rematch, making his victory in their first fight look like a fluke. Maybe it’s because most fans became aware of Mora (22-1-1, 6 knockouts) on a reality-TV series (the first season of “The Contender”). Maybe it’s because he isn’t a puncher.

Whatever the reason, a lot of self-defined hardcore fans just don’t get excited about Mora.

Mosley and his trainer Naazim Richardson, however, are not part of that group.

“If Shane can’t get up for Sergio Mora, he’s in trouble,” Richardson said at a media workout for Mosley at the Fortune Gym on Wednesday in Los Angeles. “I’ve known Sergio for years, I watched him come up through the amateurs. He’s nothing to fool with. Mora’s a problem for any fighter.”

Mosley believes his trainer.

“I have to be on top of my game for Mora,” Mosley told RingTV.com. “I’m making sure my defense is good, making sure my punches are flowing nice, fast and crisp because he’s very active in the ring. He throws a lot of punches.

“It’s kind of an amateurish type of style but being that he’s a lot bigger than me, he could make for a very hard fight.”

Size has not been made an issue in this fight, perhaps because Mosley (46-6, 39 KOs) is a much harder puncher than Mora, but maybe it should be.

Mora is not only taller (6-feet to Mosley’s 5-9), but he’s been a middleweight (more than 155 pounds) since his amateur days. The only time Mora weighed under 155 pounds during his pro career were his two title bouts with Forrest.

He may not be a heavy hitter but he’s used to being hit by heavier men than Mosley, who has never fought above 154 pounds. Mora has victories over Peter Manfredo Jr. and Jesse Brinkley, both of whom have earned super middleweight title shots.

Mosley is well aware of Mora’s track record.

“That’s why I have to be in tip-top shape for him,” he said. “I know I have to be ready to fight because he’s a tough competitor. He only lost one time. That’s to Vernon Forrest, a guy I lost twice to in the pros, once in the amateurs. Everyone else he beat. If people can’t respect him, that’s their problem. I think people expect me to overlook him because they don’t respect him. I believe that Mora’s been a little quiet lately because he want’s me to buy into what the fans are thinking, but I don’t buy into that stuff. I don’t buy into what some fans or some writers think.

“I know Sergio Mora is a tough fighter. I know he has something to prove in this fight. He wants to prove that he can beat legendary fighters. He wants to beat me like he beat Vernon Forrest. I’m not going to let that happen.”

STILL A LOT OF FIGHT LEFT

Mosley turns 39 on Sept. 7, but he’s not thinking about retirement yet, especially if he beats Mora on the 18th.

“We’ve got big fights coming up,” he said, “the main one is Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito. I think the Mora fight will put me in position to fight the winner, if he wants to fight me. If he does, I’m available. If Pacquiao wins, I want to fight him. If he doesn’t, maybe I’ll fight Margarito again if he looks good in the fight. If not, then I’ll try for Miguel Cotto.”

Mosley dropped a close and very entertaining unanimous decision to Cotto in November of 2007 when the Puerto Rican star was an undefeated (30-0) welterweight titleholder. A rematch at junior middleweight, where Cotto currently holds a belt, would be a fascinating matchup.

Cotto is expected to defend the 154-pound title he won from Yuri Foreman in June against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Dec. 4.

200: CELEBRATE AND DOMINATE

Tickets for the Sept. 18 show, entitled “200: Celebrate and Dominate” to commemorate the Bicentennial of Mexican Independence Day, are going fast, according to Richard Schaefer.

The CEO of Golden Boy Promotions is not surprised given the price of the tickets — ranging from $20 to $200 for ringside seats — and the competitive bouts on the card.

“The lower bowl tickets are almost gone,” Schaefer told RingTV.com. “There are only 180 of the $200 tickets left. Those will be gone in a couple of days. There are only a few $20 tickets left. We’re going to open up the upper bowl soon. We’re expecting a complete sellout of the arena.”

Schaefer is confident the fans who pack the arena will get more than their money’s worth with the stacked card.

“Every fight is an important fight for each fighter involved,” he said. “There’s a title shot waiting for the winner of the de Leon-Escalante fight, which is a for-sure barnburner. I’m really, really excited about that fight.”

The 12-rounder is an elimination bout for the 126-pound belt held by undefeated boxer-puncher Juan Manuel Lopez, but Schaefer said the winner could instead face much-avoided former 122-pound belt holder Celestino Caballero.

“The Caballero people want to fight the winner of de Leon-Escalante and HBO already said that they are interested in that fight, so either way, there are big things for the winner of that featherweight fight.”

Schaefer says there are big things waiting for Alvarez, one of Mexico’s biggest attractions, if the 20-year-old junior middleweight can beat Baldomir, the former RING welterweight champ.

“Alvarez wants the L.A. market so he’s looking to make an impression against Baldomir, but I hope it’s not too much, too soon,” he said. “He was hurt by Jose Cotto in May and that guy came up from lightweight. Baldomir’s going to be tough because knows he’s done if he loses. Same thing with Harris. It’s do or die with him. He’s got to win to remain relevant. And Ortiz is returning to the place where he suffered his worst setback, the loss to Marcos Maidana. He can’t afford another slip up.

“Even Mosley, with all he’s accomplished, can’t afford to lose again. Mora’s the only fighter with nothing to lose and everything to gain, but I think that’s why he’ll give his all. I think the fans are really in for a treat with this card.”

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