Vernon Forrest talked a heck of a game coming in to his title fight with Sergio Mora. He called Mora, a reality show contestant, a “pretender” not a “contender,” and promised that he’d send him out of the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT on a stretcher Saturday night. The WBC 154 pound champion Forrest performed with none of the fire he showed verbally, however, and Mora showed the legions of naysayers who deemed him an overhyped journeyman that he deserved none of the scorn Forrest heaped on him. The Latin Snake, with a spirited effort, took a majority decision by scores were 115-113, 116-112, and 114-114 in the headline bout of a Showtime card.
Mora said, “I worked hard, I deserved this,” after the bout. “Once I got to the seventh round, I wasn’t going to let him win any more rounds.” The winner said the trash talk before didn’t spur him on the win. Forrest congratulated Mora afterwards, and said he couldn’t get off, and he was flat. “He fought a very good fight, he was the better man tonight,” Forrest said. He stated that he did not take Mora lightly, and showed ample class with his statements. The Georgian Forrest (40-2-1, with 29 KOs coming in), age 37, weighed in at 153 ¾ while the 28-year-old Californian Mora (20-0-1, 5 KOs) weighed in at 154 pounds.
In the first, “the Viper” Forrest worked his right hand. The crowd booed the slowish pace at the 1 minute mark, as Forrest scouted out Mora. Forrest won the round, with a ripping left to the body/right to the head combo.
In the second, Mora tried to establish his jab. Didn’t really work. His low left hand was telling Forrest to fire the right, which he did. Mora looked tight, and perhaps, worried that he was in over his head.
In the third round, Forrest looked so relaxed starting out, like he was in with a decent amateur in a sparring session. Forrest looked like he was trying to make Mora pay for the obnoxious babblings of Contender promoter Jeff Wald, who Forrest said insulted him the week before in the pre-fight buildup. Forrest’s body work again worked well.
In the fourth, Mora came out with more aggression. But he owns such minimal power, Forrest didn’t look bothered in the least, but at least Mora was scoring some points. He likely won the round.
In the fifth round, Forrest started out sharp on the inside. Mora looked more confident, but Forrest took some wind out his sails with a right uppercut. Still, Mora pushed forward, landing some jabs, and giving a decent account of himself. The action was not scintillating, not one would’ve expected from a fired-up Forrest.
In the sixth round, Mora found a home with a quick right hand. Forrest looked fairly flat, and needed to do something to switch the momentum. He looked like the older fighter at this juncture. By the way, Forrest’s best toss of the round was a low blow.
In the seventh, Forrest pawed with his jab, and one wondered if his notorious shoulder was bothering him. Mora’s confidence was sky high now; he even switched up to lefty for a beat. The two stared at each other after the bell sounded.
In the eighth round, Forrest fired a smart right that told Mora that the Viper was still dangerous. Mora ripped left hooks, and Forrest did not make him pay in return. Forrest again threw a low blow and was warned by ref Dick Flaherty. Mora was warned for hitting behind the head, again. It was another tight round, which could have gone either way. I leaned to the Contender.
In the ninth round, Mora still looked fresh. Forrest hadn’t looked fresh in some time. Mora caught his man on the ropes and laced into him. Forrest looked to be in a bit of trouble, but luckily for him, Mora isn’t a hard hitter.
In the tenth round, the crowd booed when neither man got down to business. But Mora woke up first, ripping hooks and slinging sharp jabs. The judges had to notice (didn’t they?) that Mora’s energy level and output was more impressive than the former Olympians.’
In the 11th round, Mora came out with smoke coming out of his ears. This was the first time he boxed in an eleventh round, by the way. The fighters banged each other to the body, as the fans chanted Mora’s name. If Forrest knew he was in trouble, it didn’t register in his output.
In the 12th round, Mora slipped shots with crisp head movement. Mora landed a thudding right that the crowd appreciated. He smiled at the 1:20 mark, indicating to his corner and fans that he knew his effort was solid, and about to be rewarded.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV