SACRAMENTO – Faced with a loud hostile crowd, Sergio Mora used his speed and guile to nullify the opposition and capture a unanimous decision over the hometown hero Eric Regan on Friday.
It was Mora’s first match in enemy territory. As he walked into the Arco Arena 3,423 people vigorously booed his entrance. When Regan entered the roars of approval echoed throughout.
Mora then proved round by round he was the superior fighter and soon the crowd changed sides.
“We were worried about coming here,” said John Montelongo, advisor and cornerman for Mora. “We thought they might pull some hometown shenanigans.”
Instead, Mora used his speed against Regan, who stood four inches taller and wielded power in each fist. In the very first round Mora wobbled Regan with a left hook to the head and to the body. From there on Regan seemed tentative about firing more than one punch at a time.
“I knew I hurt him but I never thought I would knock him out,” said Mora (19-0, 4 KOs). “He has power and he came with a good fight plan.”
Regan attempted to keep the smaller Mora at arm’s length. And whenever Mora got too close, he held the East L.A. fighter. It was a tactic he used over and over like a human boa constrictor.
“I didn’t want him to get inside,” said Regan (26-2, 17 KOs). “I was taller, stronger, but he might have been faster.”
Mora quickly surmised that his only hope to outscored Regan was combinations whenever he came within punching distance. But for the first four rounds referee Jon Schorle continued to break up the fighters as soon as they got within an inch of each other. That seemed to nullify Mora’s inside fighting ability.
Finally around the fifth round, the referee allowed Mora the chance to free himself from the entangling arms of Regan. The Latin Snake punched his way out repeatedly with uppercuts, left hooks and body shots that were heard throughout the arena.
“I hit him anywhere I could,” said Mora. “That was my answer to his holding.”
Regan withstood the bombs Mora sent his way and on several occasions landed a few of his own.
“He hits hard,” Mora said. “I had to be careful.”
Regan felt he was in close range to win the fight. But the judges thought otherwise and scored it 98-92, 97-93 twice for Mora. When the decision was announced the crowd cheered loudly for Mora and booed the hometown guy.
Mora is now looking to fight middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor for the title.
“I would love to fight Jermain Taylor,” said Mora, last year’s winner of the television reality show the Contender who remains undefeated. “That’s a fight I would love to make.”
In other bouts
In the semi-main event, popular Alfonso Gomez (15-3-1, 6 KOs) of Orange County won by technical knockout over Oklahoma’s Carson Jones (12-3-1, 7 KOs) in a junior middleweight contest. At 2:28 of the eighth round, referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight when Gomez landed a battery of punches on Jones who protested vehemently that the fight should not have been stopped.
Sacramento’s Otis Griffin (14-1-2), winner of the short-lived reality television boxing show the Next Great Champion, couldn’t miss with the overhand right and won by unanimous decision over Nelson Zepeda (9-2-1) of Portland, Oregon. The judges scored it 60-53, 59-54, 58-55 for Griffin in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
An amateur contest featured a Sacramento welterweight Juan Vasquez against San Francisco’s Santos Soto. To the dismay of the crowd, Soto took a split-decision win over the hometown representative.