Its a hard comedown for a fighter when he realizes, or strongly suspects, that his time as a featured attraction for a promoter is over.
Sergio Mora had an inkling that his promoter, Golden Boy, wasnt as enamored of him as they once were, when he had a hard time securing a date to fight recently. The California-based hitter, nicknamed The Latin Snake, wants to climb his way back up the ladder at 154/160 pounds. Hes been inactive the last two years, having fought three times in 2008, not at all in 2009, and once so far in 2010. No sanctioning body lists him in the top 15, which is ridiculous, because hes even money to beat half the guys in anyones top 15. Wins over Rito Ruvalcaba and Vernon Forrest had him on an uptick, as he secured the WBC junior middleweight crown with the win over the late Forrest in June 2007. But in a rematch, Forrest got the UD, and after that, Fate stopped cooperating. Mora was dormant from Sept. 13, 2008 til April 3, 2010, when he scored a TKO7 win over Calvin Green on the Hopkins-Jones undercard in Vegas. A June 2009 bout with Kelly Pavlik, which could have been a career definer, fell through when Pavliks hand injury flared up. TSS spoke to the Snake before the Cotto-Foreman fight, and he admitted he was getting frustrated that he couldnt get a date. He wanted to fight on the JMM-Diaz II card, but wasnt happy with the money Golden Boy was offering to the ex Contender 1 champion.
Im hoping they do the right thing and put me on the July 31st card,he told TSS. Im West Coast based fighter. I just finished having a good fight. Richard Schaefer talked to Cameron Dunkin, my manager, and he offered me one fight, Matthew Macklin. We told them we can make that happen if Im the semi main or we get more money. Mora, having recently won and defended a title, asked aloud, Why dont we fight him over there (in his native England), because beating him out here is just beating some guy?
Cameron agreed with me, and said lets fight someone else in top 10 or top 15. They stuck to that guy, which raised my suspicion. I think theyre interested in signing him. I spoke with Ricky Hatton, who used to promote him, he came to the States and he has no promoter. Im ready to fight him, but I want to fight him where itll be seen, not the first fight or the swing bout on an HBO PPV.
Its a hard blow to the ego when you realize that there are other hotties at the dance, and maybe the boys arent pursuing you like they did a year or two before. Why, it was just December of 2009 when Golden Boy made a big deal about signing the Snake, now age 29.
What about it Sergio, are you miffed that your promoter is seemingly seeking a prettier date for the prom?
I dont understand, Mora said with a chuckle. Im a good looking date, ready to dance. I dont want to be put in that category. They signed me the same day they signed Nate Campbell, and they already fed Nate to the young lion, Victor Ortiz. Thats fine with me, Im still a young lion lets do it! But if they dont have faith in me, let me know. I want a plan, if theres a plan let me know. I will fight under the minimum my contract calls for.
Mora made sure to emphasize that hes still reasonably happy to be doing business with Golden Boy, but is moreso frustrated with the everyday politics of the sport. In fact, he was made even happier when he learned that he secured a date, against JC Candelo, headlining on July 23 at Pechanga in Temecula, CA. We can guess he isnt jumping to the moon though. Hey, boxing is a what have you done for me lately business. Mora is difficult to fight (Im ready to fight for a title, but no one will give me a chance because of my style, I give everyone trouble), and isnt a one-punch rubout kind of fan favorite. A win over the 36 year-old Candelo, who has basically been fighting top journeyman in recent years, will not elevate him mightily on the ratings ladders, in all likelihood.
Mora will not be able to fall back on his powers of prognostication, sadly, if and when his in ring career comes to the end of the line. He liked the rabbi-in-training Foreman to upset Cotto. I think Foreman will pull it off in a stinker, like he beat David Santos, without the knockdowns. All he does is move, he doesnt have a second gear, just a mover period, he said. Hey, lets look on the bright side...he did call it right that Yuri was more movement that anything else...
Bottom line, this is the hurt business, and were not just talking about the physical pain from absorbing blows. The transition from young gun to forgotten spare part, or steppingstone, can damage the psyche of a proud warrior. Mora isnt there yet; by all accounts, hes still working hard in the gym, and seems primed to step up his game, to show anyone doubting him, anyone thinking hes old news, that their scouting report is flawed.