East L.A.’s Sergio Mora, the former WBC junior middleweight titleholder who was also the first season winner of the reality television show the Contender, was given his release after months of seeking to leave the television company turned boxing promoters on Tuesday.
“Its official today,” said Mora by telephone. “I’m looking for a promoter.”
Mora, 28, has been unable to obtain a fight since a year ago when he fought the late Vernon Forrest a second time and lost by decision. A fight scheduled this past summer against middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik was postponed due to injury.
“We changed it two times and then Kelly got injured,” said Mora (21-1-1), who now lives and trains in Montebello, California a suburb bordering East L.A. “We were supposed to fight but it never happened.”
Subsequently Pavlik was scheduled to fight junior middleweight titleholder Paul Williams and that was postponed due to injury. Another date has been discussed.
Mora, anxious to get back in the ring, realized that he could not wait for a big fight but the Contender organization was unable to keep the fighter known as the “Latin Snake” busy with fights.
“They didn’t have leverage to get dates for me,” said Mora of the Contender organization. “They were important in getting me to this point and I’m thankful for what they did for me.”
When Mora first entered the first show of the Contender series he was largely unknown by most fans and experts. It was other fighters like Peter Manfredo Jr. and Ishe Smith who were considered the favorites, but the East L.A. boxer managed to fight his way through the tournament and win the finale in Las Vegas. He also won the $1 million payday.
Following that success Mora had to fight his way to respectability. Most hardcore boxing fans felt he was a hyped sub par fighter but he eventually fought his way to contention and eventually a world title fight against Forrest. He captured a win by using his quickness and strength inside to win by unanimous decision and finally prove he had the skills to beat an elite fighter like Forrest who had two victories over Sugar Shane Mosley.
A rematch was fought and though Forrest won the second fight, he was unwilling to break the tie with Mora. This past summer Forrest was killed during a robbery.
“I’m humbled and honored to know I was the last guy to face Vernon Forrest,” said Mora. “He was a great fighter and an even greater person outside of the ring.”
Now free to sign with another boxing promoter, Mora seeks an organization that can keep him busy especially as he enters the prime years of his boxing career.
“I spoke with Golden Boy Promotions and I’m going to meet with Top Rank on Friday,” said Mora, who wants to speak to all of the top promotion companies. “It doesn’t matter if I fight smaller venues at first, as long as I fight. Otherwise I’m just rusting away.”
Mora is not the only fighter to leave the Contender group, recently Steve Forbes and Alfonso Gomez have departed as well. Negotiations to buy out Mora’s contract from Mark Burnett were handled by Jim Miller.
The boxer’s ability to convey his thoughts succinctly and with personality has landed him some gigs as a television color analyst. But his goal is to win another world title.
“I can fight Kelly Pavlik or wait to fight for his title if he chooses to vacate it,” said Mora who is most comfortable fighting at middleweight, but can fight at junior middleweight. “If a fight against someone like James Kirkland or Alfredo Angulo came I’m fine with that.”