Alfonso Gomez and Sergio Mora are striving for more than success, they seek a steppingstone to respect.

Just like million dollar baseball players from other countries like Japan, Mexico and Korea seek respect by coming to this country, fighters Gomez and Mora who are promoted by the Contender show are anxious to show their talent against the elite in professional prizefighting.

Gomez (17-3-2) faces Ghana’s Ben Tackie (29-7-1, 17 KOs) in a welterweight match while Mora meets Elvin Ayala in a middleweight contest at the Home Depot Center on Tuesday. The fights will be televised by ESPN.

The stakes are extremely high.

Should Gomez pass the test of Tackie’s iron head, then he’s probably headed to a showdown with Mexico’s favorite son Julio Cesar Chavez. Fighting the son of a boxing icon is no easy matter, but first comes the roughest fighter from Ghana.

Gomez gained a considerable measure of respect when he stopped favorite son Arturo Gatti last July inside 12 rounds. Many boxing fans and experts felt Gomez was a hyped product of the Contender reality television show.

If one had followed Gomez’s career you could see that aside from being one of the most likeable participants on the reality TV show, he also had a habit of walking through hell to get to whatever goal he sought. Gatti was in the way and Gomez mowed him down.

Mora (19-0, 4 KOs) finds himself poised to meet the new middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik should he beat boxer-puncher Ayala (18-2, 8 KOs) from New Haven, Conn. It’s a fight he’s biting the bit to prove he’s not afraid of high stakes warfare.

The East Los Angeles boxer known as “the Latin Snake” had been eager to face Jermain Taylor for the title, but after several venue changes “to make it seem like they were trying” the Taylor people tried to lure Mora to Memphis. That was flatly refused.

“All along I thought I was going to fight Taylor but when they moved it to Memphis my team voted against it,” said Mora.

He took a lot of heat from boxing fans, especially with Taylor’s people screaming that Mora was afraid.

But the knockout of Taylor by the booming fists of Pavlik leaves the door wide open for Mora to walk through. He’s anxious to prove everybody wrong.

“Nobody expects me to stand a chance against Pavlik,” said Mora on Monday. “First I have to win this fight before thinking about Pavlik.”

Against Ayala, a boxer stylist with some pop, Mora expects to face a defensive fighter.

“I guess I’ll have to be the aggressor,” says Mora, who’s ranked in the top 10. “This is a big fight for me.”

Boxing Chatter

Calzaghe-Kessler

Great Britain’s Joe Calzaghe and Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler are just weeks away from unifying the super middleweight division.

Kessler, the WBA and WBC titleholder, will travel to Cardiff, Wales to face local hero Calzaghe, the WBO and IBF titleholder in front of an expected 63,000 fans. That’s a lot of boxing fanatics. The record is held by Muhammad Ali’s second fight against Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans in 1978.

Kessler’s last win was a one-sided 12-round affair against local fighter Librado Andrade last March. Calzaghe’s last fight was a quick stoppage of Peter Manfredo in April.

Both fighters are undefeated.

The Nov. 3 fight will be televised live from Wales on HBO.

Nightmare in St. Lucia

Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, the rising heavyweight star out of Riverside, will be fighting on a boxing card from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on Nov. 16.

“It looks like the opponent is going to be Teke Oruh,” said Arreola’s trainer Henry Ramirez. “He’s a big guy.”

Oruh (14-0-1, 6 KOs) is a Nigerian heavyweight who fights out of Las Vegas.

The fight card is promoted by Goossen-Tutor Promotions and will also feature undefeated middleweights Andre Ward (13-0, 8 KOs) against Roger Cantrell (12-0, 8 KOs). Ward, a former gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympics, is facing a stiff test in Cantrell who packs good power.

“Andre Ward is a great fighter,” said Cantrell a Native American from Washington. “But I guarantee he’s never faced anybody like me.”

Fighters attend WBHOF

New IBF flyweight champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire was a special guest of honor at the World Boxing Hall of Fame on Saturday. The speedy Donaire knocked out former champion Vic Darchinyan last July in a fight that surprised those who had never seen the Filipino fight before.

Donaire is looking for a match against any of the Mexican champions including WBC junior bantamweight titleholder Cristian Mijares. But he’s hoping for a match against the other Mexican star Jorge Arce.

“We’ll see if Arce wins his next fight,” said Donaire at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. “I hope he comes through OK.”

Arce is training in Montebello. He’s set to fight on Dec. 1, in New Mexico. No opponent has been named.

Wayne McCullough and his charming wife Cheryl attended the festivities too. The Irish-born fighter known as the “Pocket Rocket” is still one of the most popular fighter on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Everywhere McCullough walked he was greeted by admirers. Recently the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization’s boss Dana White hired him for his MMA company. I predict one day McCullough will be an ambassador to the U.S. for North Ireland. It’s hard to believe the guy can be so nice outside the ring and so ferocious inside.

Speaking of ferocious in the ring Christy Martin the “Coalminers Daughter” also appeared at the Hall of Fame ceremony. The former welterweight champion looks great. She’s promoting fights and also keeps an eye out for possible talent.

The 28th annual WBHOF ceremonies took place in Ontario, California where boxing has boomed during the last 10 years. The current WBHOF president is Adolfo Perez.

Cory Spinks defense

Cory Spinks (36-4, 11 KOs), who holds the IBF junior middleweight title, could be facing former titleholder Verno Phillips (41-11-1, 21 KOs) who is ranked number three by the IBF.