Feature Story

Lora ready for toughest test

By Francisco Salazar

Dwight McCann

One of the more popular phrases is to never judge a book by its cover. For unbeaten welterweight Orlando Lora, he hopes that fight fans do not judge him on his last performance. Lora did not have a solid outing in his bout this past December against rugged Octavio Narvaez. Despite having lost five bouts in a row, Narvaez had faced stiff competition, even scoring two knockdowns in a bout against former world champion Vivian Harris before eventually being stopped. Lora won a close eight round unanimous decision over Narvaez that night but the outcome was met with a barrage of boos from fans in attendance who felt his opponent should have had his hand raised. For Lora (26-0, 18 KOs), who was a member of the Mexican Olympic team in 2000, it was not his best performance, at least not by his standards.

Lora will take a major step up in class tonight when he takes on veteran David Estrada for the vacant WBC FECOMBOX welterweight title at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA.

The bout headlines a special “ESPN Championship Boxing” card which is presented by Gary Shaw Productions.

Estrada will be the proverbial “toughest test to date” for the Lora. Estrada (23-6, 14 KOs) has faced the likes of Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Chris Smith, and Andre Berto. In December 2008, Estrada lost a disputed split decision to current welterweight contender Luis Carlos Abregu.

Lora understands that he will have to be sharper than when he fought Narvaez five months ago.

“I have seen him (Estrada) fight three times in person,” said Lora, who trains in Big Bear with Abel Sanchez. “I know that he is a strong opponent with lots of experience. He withstands a lot of punches to get his punches in. I am prepared for the fight to go the distance.” “In the Narvaez fight, I had problems with my health and it affected my strength and power. I was not able to feel my legs as strong as in previous fights. I was not even able to sleep the night before. Luckily, I was able to do enough to win the fight.”

Estrada will pose more of a challenge than Narvaez. Estrada is durable and has power plus he is an effective counterpuncher.

Lora states that he has worked hard to improve his style since the Narvaez bout and he promises that the fans will see a more-improved fighter on Saturday.

“I have worked a lot on my offense and defense,” said the native of Culiacan, Michoacán, Mexico, who is promoted by Gary Shaw. “I’ve learned to be more mental in the ring. The ability to be resilient without letting up on my aggression is something that I’ve been working on as well.”

A victory over hardcore Estrada would open more doors for Lora. Although Lora won a minor title last year – the IBA jr middleweight belt – he aspires for the more lucrative titles.

“I enjoy the good competition and I know there are good fighters. I would like to be considered amongst the mix with those fighters at 147 pounds.”

If one could read the life story of Lora, one could see the outer exterior of a quiet family man. With a child on the way, the 29-year old Lora is devoted to his wife and is an admitted homebody, watching television and listening music.

On the inside, Lora has a passion be a world champion. He knows it will not be easy, but the countless hours of working in the gym will hopefully pay off.

He expects a tough battle from Estrada.

“I know that Estrada will be a tough opponent. He’s fought some of the best fighters. A victory over him will open for big things. I have a dream of fighting and winning a world title.”

“When that opportunity comes, I will have to make the most of it.”

Looks like Lora has the ability to write that happy ending.

* * *

As a tribute to military, law enforcement, and fast-response personnel, two-for-one tickets are available at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa box office. The “2-for-1 Hero” seats are located on the mezzanine level and are $35 a pair. “Hero” tickets are available at the Show box office, at the Paradise Rewards Club at the Agua Caliente Casino, and sister property Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs. Proper identifications or credentials will be required at the time of purchase.

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