By Francisco Salazar
Photos by Big Joe Miranda
Shane Mosley and Sergio Mora have numerous similarities between them. Both have held world titles. Both have fought in Los Angeles and are unbeaten when fighting in the City of Angels. Both have fought and won in front of thousands of people at STAPLES Center, where they will do battle on Saturday, September 18th. Heck, both currently fight under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
To say that their professional careers have taken different courses from their professional debuts would be an understatement. One fought under the limelight, winning multiple world titles in different weight classes, while the other fought under relative obscurity until he would appear on a reality show despite his underappreciated talent.
As one would think, September 18th would have a different meaning between the two fighters. Mosley looks at this bout as another fight against a tough and worthy fighter.
However, Mora looks at this bout as a way to prove to the boxing world that he is just as deserving to fight and win against some of the biggest names out there. Although the “Contender” made him a household name, it did not bring the long-term success he thought it would.
“The Contender was a huge part of my success, but with every blessing there’s a curse. I didn’t gain a lot of respect from people, but I deserve it.”
Three years after winning the reality-based tournament, Mora did fight and win a world title, defeating the late Vernon Forrest by majority decision in June of 2008. However, he would lose the title to Forrest in his next bout three months later.
Rather than bounce back and fight again, Mora did not lace the gloves again until April, when he stopped overmatched Calvin Green in April. Itching to get back in the ring was one thing. Fighting the best and being confident and capable of beating them was another.
As much as he respects Mosley and all of his accomplishments, Mora thinks that the boxing world has overlooked him all of this time. He wants to make a statement, even if it is at the expense of the fighter he watched on television growing up.
“Only two fighters have earned the word “great” and that is Oscar (De La Hoya) and Mosley, but there’s another fighter who will be known as great and that’s me.”
Mosley has seen and done it all in the boxing world. He has been on top of the boxing world a number of times. However, he fought during a stretch when he won once amongst in a span of six fights and that was against his promotional boss, Oscar De La Hoya.
Mosley is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather on May 1st. It was a fight that saw Mosley hurt Mayweather in the second round, but could not finish the brash and talented fighter.
Admitting it was an off-night where he could get off after that point in the fight, Mosley was eager to get back in the ring. Mosley looks at this bout against Mora as a way to get back in the ring, but he is not underestimating what Mora will bring to the ring on September 18th.
“I’m happy to be able to get back into the ring. Sergio Mora is very fast and has a lot of ability. Both of us are very competitive. Regardless of friendship, I know I want to win and he wants to win.”
De La Hoya, who fought and lost two close decisions to Mosley in 2000 and 2003, offered his take on the bout.
“Mosley has done it all, and he’s not finished yet. He’s one of those fighters we like to call a throwback fighter. Back from the day when fighters would get in the ring and put on a show. Fighters who would breathe, eat and live boxing. That’s why Mosley is so great.”
“If anyone is counting out Sergio Mora, I believe you have another thing coming. You can’t forget that Mora beat a fighter who beat Mosley, Vernon Forrest. He beat Ishe Smith. He won the Contender and has moved on from that. He has become a force to be reckoned with at 154 pounds.”
However, both fighters have always fought as underdogs and have come out victorious. Few people expected Mora to not only win the “Contender,” but fewer people thought that he would have a world title strapped around his waist.
Both times Mosley fought at STAPLES Center, he also was the fighter who was not expected to win by many. Mosley defeated De La Hoya in a battle of unbeaten fighters. In January of last year, Mosley knocked out Antonio Margarito before a crowd of 20,820, a fight Margarito was favored to win.
Both fighters want to win on September 18th. A defeat would be a major setback in the careers, especially to Mosley, who will turn 39 years of age 11 days before his bout against Mora. Then again, he has always come back when the boxing world thinks he is out for the count.
Sergio Mora achieved a childhood dream of becoming a world champion when he defeated Vernon Forrest. Was that his breakthrough fight or will it be against a future hall of famer?
The answer will be written out in just six and a half weeks.
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Also on the card will be unbeaten hard-hitting Mexican Saul Alvarez and Junior Welterweight contender Victor Ortiz fighting in separate bouts. Alvarez, who fought less than a month ago in stopping Luciano Cuello, will face former world title holder Carlos Baldomir.
Ortiz, who defeated Nate Campbell in his last bout in June, will take on another former world title holder in Vivian Harris.
Both are excited about fighting on such a big stage and expect tough challenges from their respected opponents.
“I’m glad to be on such an important card with such good fighters,” said Alvarez, who will fighting for their third time in the United States and the second in Southern California. “It’s business as usual when I step into the ring because I fight with desire.”
“I know that it will be a tough fight (against Harris),” said Ortiz, who has now won his last three bouts after losing to Marcos Maidana over a year ago, ironically at STAPLES Center.
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The Mosley-Mora fight headlines the “200: Celebrate and Dominate” card. The number 200 signifies the 200th anniversary of the start of the fight for Mexican Independence from Spain. It began on September 16th, 1810 when Creole Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called for peasants to revolt in the small town of Dolores in the present-day state of Hidalgo. Although Hidalgo was killed in the fighting, the fight for independence continued until Mexico achieved its official freedom in 1821.
The card will be the official sporting event of the bicentennial anniversary. Because of the large Mexican-American population in Southern California, Golden Boy Promotions in association with Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles have put together a series of events leading up to September 18th.
On Wednesday, popular Mexican conjunto Los Temerarios will be playing at the Nokia Theatre, across the street from STAPLES. Right after the concert, at L.A. Live, the traditional “el grito” will be delivered by the consul general, Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzales.
On Thursday, September 16th, there will be a free mariachi concert in Los Angeles. A number of legends of boxing from Mexico will also be a part of the festivities. There will be a “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card on Friday, September 17th, although no Southern California location has yet been determined.