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Is It Sergio Mora Or Vernon Forrest Time?

BY David A. Avila ON September 10, 2008
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A clash of generations takes place when Sergio Mora’s quirky avante garde fistic style confronts Vernon Forrest’s traditional classic mode.

Generation X versus Generation Y.

Once again Mora’s Picasso-like boxing moves will be tested against Forrest’s old Norman Rockwell reliable jab and block template in the rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept 13. But this time Mora has the WBC junior middleweight title.

“They say having the title makes a fighter better,” said Mora (21-0-1, 5 KOs) while in his Montebello gym that also houses new welterweight king Antonio Margarito. “We’ll see what happens.”

They also say that professional boxing is for the hungry fighter and for many years no fighter was starving more than East Los Angeles’s Mora. The prizefighter was literally living in a garage.

Forrest (40-3, 29 KOs) is a hungry fighter too. After losing the welterweight title to Ricardo Mayorga, then suffering back-to-back injuries that kept him out of contender status for several years, the Georgia boxer worked hard to return to glory.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two fighters is their generation gap, namely the 10 years that separates them in age.

Mora, 27, is a whole decade younger than the boxer known as the Viper and remains undefeated in his pro career. He’s never tasted defeat but came darn close to it a year ago when forced to fight a completely different opponent due to an injury to Ike Quartey.

Against Elvin Ayala the Latin Snake seemed to think the little known boxer would be another name to put on his winning ledger. But that night, the slapping counter punch style of the Connecticut fighter messed up Mora’s timing, footwork and boxing method until he rallied by going to the body.

“That was my worst performance,” said Mora. “No excuses for that.”

But other than that draw, Mora’s slippery unorthodox boxing style has confused, abused and frustrated anybody who has entered the ring against him.

In their first encounter Mora, a middleweight who agreed to drop down six pounds, bedazzled former welterweight and junior middleweight titleholder Forrest with his confusing style and variety of inside moves. That day on June 7, the former Contender reality television star proved it wasn’t acting, but true talent that made him the first champion of the TV boxing show the Contender.

Forrest was not amused.

“Everybody knows me. That was not how I fight,” said Forrest (40-3, 29 KOs) when in Los Angeles. “Sergio did good, but I was at my worst. That won’t happen again, I guarantee.”

In that first meeting Forrest and his promoter Gary Shaw expected to face a jittery boxer who was intent on moving and staying away from the experienced champion.

“I was surprised,” said Shaw, who complimented Mora for his aggressiveness.

Mora shakes his head when hearing that Forrest was unanimated during their first fight because of “just one of those days” flatness.

“He was that way because of the body punches I was landing,” says Mora (21-0-1, 5 KOs), who fought mostly inside and belted Forrest with body punches from the third round on. “I could hear him whimper a few times after I hit him to the stomach.”

Two weeks ago, Golden Boy Promotions mentioned that the winner of this fight could possibly meet Oscar De La Hoya in 2009. But neither boxer is concerned with that potential mega match at the moment.

“I know Vernon is going to use all of his tricks and experience in our next fight,” said Mora. “But I’m going to use all of those things I wasn’t able to use in the first fight.”

Dean Campos, who trains Mora, said he’s come up with several alternatives should the main plan fail to work.

“Basically Sergio is the quicker, stronger and younger fighter,” said Campos. “We have to use those advantages.”

Will the younger boxer prevail with his out-of-the box collection of moves, countermoves and 27-year-old legs?

“It was hard to get use to his herky jerky movements,” said Forrest, who seldom has problems with traditional boxing styles. It’s the unorthodox fighters like Ricardo Mayorga and Mora who throw off his guidance system. “But I’ll definitely be ready for him this time.”

Time is the key word. Is it time for Forrest to bow from professional boxing and let the young guns like Mora  take their place at the head of the junior middleweight division?

Or is Forrest just too experienced to let it happen again?

Time will tell.

Fights on television

Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Lucas Matthysse (22-0) vs. Rogelio Castaneda (24-14-3).

Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. (12-0-1) vs. Adolfo Landeros (19-10-1).

Sat. HBO pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Joel Casamayor (36-3-1) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (48-4-1); Sergio Mora (21-0-1) vs. Vernon Forrest (40-3); Yory Boy Campas (92-12) vs. Julio Cesar Garcia (41-3).

Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Timothy Bradley (22-0) vs. Edner Cherry (24-5-2); Nate Campbell (32-5-1) vs. Joan Guzman (28-0).

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