It’s tough not being critical of Sergio Mora’s performance

Pre-fight the two boxers did a great sales job on how great a performance was ahead.

Saturday, Boxing Examiners throughout the land were invited to view the Sergio Mora versus Shane Mosley Pay-per-View boxing event at their local Regal Entertainment Group theatre. For me, watching the HBO Boxing Show on the big screen at the United Artist multiplex at Horton Plaza was quite a treat. The surround sound and huge visual from their large screen made it feel like I was at ringside in one of those $1,250 seats.

Now the downside! When you’re invited to see an event of this magnitude at such a grand place, you’re expecting more from the stars of the show. A star on Broadway, the closing act of a play or a headliner of a concert, has the responsibility to be momentous or exceptional. Well, somebody needs to tell Sergio Mora that if he wants to be in that position again, he has to learn how to mix it up in the ring.

As usual all the pre-fight hype was there. Oscar De la Hoya, the show’s promoter called the impending bout: “A spectacular. Mora has beaten World Champions and former World Champions.” [That statement was a stretch.] “He beat the late Vernon Forrest and people need to be reminded of that.”

Keeping it real, Mora is the champion of a reality TV show, The Contender. He fought Najai Turpin in the first round, the boxer who later committed suicide. In the quarter-finals he beat Ishe Smith. He beat Jesse Brinkley in the semi-final and then Peter Manfredo in the finals. He also won a controversial split decision in their rematch.

Mora fought the IBA Title holder Eric Regan (26-2) on August 25, 2006. The same Eric Regan who lost to Darnel Castillo (10-12-2) and Pedro Ortega (29-12-1). Mora won by unanimous decision after going 10 rounds. IBA? Who are they?

Rumors circulated that Mora was to fight WBC/WBO middleweight title holder Jermain Taylor in the Spring of 2007. However, on March 15, 2007, Mora refused the seven figure fight against Taylor that would have taken place in Memphis, which Mora claimed was too close to Taylor’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Sergio was to fight Kassim Ouma (25-3-1 15 KOs) in a middleweight bout on September 15, 2007. That bout was to be televised on HBO. It was on the undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Jorge Rodrigo Barrios fight. However, the event was canceled and left observers wondering why Mora again avoided fighting a top name opponent. He did fight Elvin Ayala on October 16, 2007, at The Home Depot Center. The 10-round fight ended in a draw. Of the 20 boxers that Ayala faced, only nine had a winning record.

On January 11, 2008, Mora stopped Rito Ruvalcaba in the sixth round of their scheduled 10-round middleweight fight at the Casino Morongo. At the time of the stoppage, Mora was behind on two of three judges’ scorecards. He hurt Ruvalcaba with a combination, drove him to the ropes and landed another left hand, at which point the referee stopped the fight. But Ruvalcaba was still punching at the time of the stoppage, leading to more controversy.

On June 7, 2008, Mora defeated Vernon Forrest (41-2) via a 12 round split decision to become the WBC Super welterweight champion. Forrest took an early lead in what began as a tactical bout and then Mora started forcing his way into the bout by consistently outworking the 38 year-old. The final scores were 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 in Mora’s favor.

Forrest reclaimed his title on September 14, 2008, against Sergio Mora via unanimous decision. Forrest scored a knock down in round seven, had Mora in trouble in round nine and had him retreating for the majority of the fight.

Along comes Saturday night’s fiasco. For the first six rounds it was Mosley doing the chasing and the taller rabbit (Mora) doing the running. In the first round the Combu-box people had Mora landing one punch. Whenever, the boxers had even the slightest pitter-patter exchange, the crowd was ready to cheer. It seemed everyone was doing their part except for Mora who fought 80% of the fight in retreat mode. Even when he did land a blow, his punches didn’t appear to have any affect on Mosley.

Mora seemed content to just move around and land an occasional sneaky counter punch. In the second through the eighth round the match featured a lot of grappling and movement, as Mosley failed to cut off the ring in order to close the gap on his moving target.

The former champ was given a pass for the lack of action; after all he’s now 39 years of age and in the twilight of his boxing career. But, Mora? He’s 29 and had no excuse for such a performance. It appeared Mosley was doing everything he could to entertain the polite crowd who at times could not restrain from booing.

Then, to everyone’s surprise a fight broke out between rounds nine and twelve after Mora started to stand his ground. This allowed Mosley to get into range and throw more punches. Consequently, Mora did a better job of landing his punches in close.

Although Shane Mosley pressed the action throughout, his aggression lacked sustained effectiveness, and at times appeared as though Mora was out-landing the former lightweight, welterweight and jr. middleweight champ.

You can tell how boring a fight was by how many times a boxing writer resorts to quoting a boxing analyst like Larry Merchant. I must say I enjoyed Merchant’s lambasting of Mora, “I don’t think he could knock a glass over, even with a running start.”

At the conclusion of the broadcast Merchant told co-host Jim Lampley, “You know I enjoyed watching the three previous bouts. But a week from now, I won’t even be able to remember this one. The only thing that stinks more than Mora’s performance, is the judges’ decision. [The draw by the judges surprised everyone.] If I’m ever in a position to watch another Mora fight, I hope I’m somewhere else.”

Mexican boxing fans see Saul "Canelo" Alvarez as the second coming of Julio Cesar Chavez.

Thank goodness HBO and Golden Boy Promotions had nine additional bouts on the fight card.  At 2:58 of the sixth round of his bout, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (34-0-1, 26 KOs) the middleweight sensation from Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico, produced a spectacular knockout of former world champion Carlos Baldomir (45-13-6, 14 KOs).

After the native of Argentina fell face-first to the canvas, the referee quickly halted the action, not even bothering to count. Prior to the knockout, Alvarez opened up offensively, landing multiple hard combinations to the face of Baldomir, as 13,591 fans were on their feet cheering on the Mexican redhead.

Also featured: Victor Ortiz (28-2-1, 22 KO’s) was awesome against Vivian Harris (29-5-1), dropping the former jr. welterweight champion three times in the second round before knocking him out with a short right hook in the third. With the win, Ortiz puts himself in the mix for a possible title shot.

In a WBO featherweight eliminator, former world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon(40-2-0, 33 KO’s) dominated Antonio Escalante (23-3-0, 15 KO’s) over the course of three rounds, finishing him off with a tremendous right hook in the third that knocked Escalante out cold. The win earned him a mandatory shot at the WBO world featherweight title.

Also on the under-card:

Kaliesha West (13-1-2) KO’ed Angel Gladney (6-3-1) in the seventh round. Before Saturday night’s bout, Gladney had never faced anyone with a winning record.

Welterweight Frankie Gomez (6-0-0, 6 KO’s) KO’ed Ricardo Calazada (2-3-0) in the third round.

Lightweights David Rodela (15-3-3) and Juan Montiel (4-3-2) fought to a draw.

Middleweight Keith Thurman (14-0-0, 13 KO’s) won a 3rd round TKO victory over Quandray Robertson (15-10-0).

Welterweight Sharif Bogere (17-0-0, 11 KO’s) KO’ed Julian Rodriguez (19-20-4).

Featherweight Erick Arreola (1-1-0) won by mixed decision over Missael Nunez (4-9-2).

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