Sergio Mora’s Ankle

It was a stretch to call Saturday night’s fight at Barclays Center between Danny Jacobs and Sergio Mora a “championship” fight.

Jacobs (29-1, 26 KOs) had fought one world-class opponent in his career (Dmitry Pirog) and was stopped in the fourth round. Mora (28-3-2, 9 KOs) has spent much of the last ten years living off the name recognition that came from a successful run on The Contender. But Jacobs and Mora are professional fighters with skills. And their fight was a good one while it lasted.

Mora is a ring stylist who tends to avoid all-out action. This time, he had a different plan in mind.

“I take a good punch,” Sergio told this writer the day after the fight. “I don’t think Danny does. I was ready to go all out from the start.”

Midway through round one, Mora hooked to the body, waited for a receipt, and got one in the form of a straight right hand that landed flush on his jaw, depositing him on the canvas. Sergio rose and backed into a corner. Jacobs followed, stopped to admire his handiwork with his hands down, and . . .

Boom! A left hook up top from Mora returned the knockdown favor.

The action continued in round two.

“I knew the first four rounds would be tough,”Mora said on Sunday. “And then it would be a war of attrition. I’ve been there and won those kind of fights. The one time Danny was there, he got knocked out.”

Then the unthinkable happened.

“I was fighting low against the ropes,” Sergio recounted. “I’m comfortable in that position. I’ve made a career of defending myself that way. Danny hit me on the back of my head or neck with a grazing punch. He put his weight on me. We both lost our balance. I went down. My right leg was bent under my body, but I was okay. Then he stumbled over me. I heard a loud pop and felt an incredible pain in my ankle. I got up. And as soon as I put my weight on the ankle, it confirmed what I already knew. My ankle was broken.”

“Are you ready to go?” referee Gary Rosato demanded.

“No,” Sergio responded. “My ankle.”

The fight was stopped and ruled a knockout victory for Jacobs at 2:55 of the second stanza. But was that the right ruling?

It’s unclear from the camera angles aired by ESPN whether or not Mora visited the canvas as the consequence of a legal punch. Unless footage to the contrary exists, the ruling of the referee on that point has to stand.

But there’s a second issue: Was Mora’s broken ankle caused by a legitimate boxing move (the knockdown) or by an accidental foul that followed?

A look at one of the ESPN replay angles appears to show the following: Mora is on the canvas with his right ankle bent backward. As Jacobs stumbles forward over Sergio’s body, Danny’s right thigh pushes against Sergio’s torso with the force of his momentum and weight, pinning Sergio’s already-turned ankle under the weight of both bodies. It’s at this point that Sergio heard the “pop” and a look of unspeakable pain crossed his face.

The New York State Athletic Commission has used video replay in the past to overturn fight results.

In 2007, Terrance Cauthen was ahead of Raul Frank on the judges’ scorecards when he was accidentally head-butted on the chin and knocked woozy. Referee Ricky Gonzalez didn’t see the headbutt, stopped the fight, and declared Frank the winner by knockout. After a hearing, the result was changed to “no contest.”

That same year, the NYSAC used video review to change the result of a fight between Delvin Rodriguez and Keenan Collins. The bout was originally ruled “no contest” after Collins suffered a fight-ending cut above his left eye that referee Eddie Claudio ruled was caused by an accidental clash of heads. A review of the video showed that the cut was caused by a punch. The result was changed to a second-round knockout in Rodriguez’s favor.

Fundamental fairness requires a hearing on Jacobs-Mora if Sergio follows the proper legal procedures and brings the matter to the attention of the NYSAC.

“I don’t need another loss on my record,” Sergio says. “And it’s not fair that I should have one.”

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book -Thomas Hauser on Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press.

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COMMENTS

-mortcola :

Good one, Hauser. The injury that ended the fight had nothing to do with a Jacobs punch. I watched it again and again. There may have been a grazing-punch, flash-knockdown prior to the event that twisted Mora's leg There is no logical nor rule-based interpretation that can justify calling this either a win or a TKO win for Jacobs. I like Danny. No interest in Mora. But fair is fair.


-Radam G :

Here we go again. Controversy! If it were homeboy Jacobs, the bout would have been declared a no contest that night. Let's see which way the winds will blow for Mora. I think Mora went down from a punch. So the game is over. However, we know our sport is the "theatre of the unexpected." Holla!


-brownsugar :

Jacobs landed roughly 9 clean punches in the second round, Mora never touched Jacobs once while he was bending awkwardly at the waist in an effort to escape Jacob's assault. Jacobs landed two more glancing blows off of Mora's torso and one to the region behind Mora's ear. Immediately Mora ducks low, after being hit, below Jacobs knees again as Jacobs assault carries him forward and almost crashing into Mora. The film shows Jacob stepping cleanly over Mora's back to keep from tripping over his fallen body. You can even see the gap between Jacobs and Mora's body as Jacobs is moving away. You don't have to be a forensics expert or a professional ambulance chaser to see Jacobs punch land right before Mora dives low to escape any further punishment... So Mora's movements were precipitated by a punch. Mora wasn't fouled as he caused his own slip in an effort to avoid getting hit again... In any event Mora is done at the top level except as a gatekeeper, and even in the unlikelyhood of a positive verdict by the commission, Danny doesn't lose his paper strap and Mora doesn't gain one. The status change would be a change to a no decision on his record. I can fully understand why Mora would fight for that and I don't blame him. Of course these is just my opinions, I still appreciate and respect the opinions of all those who believe otherwise.


-King Beef :

Jacobs landed roughly 9 clean punches in the second round, Mora never touched Jacobs once while he was bending awkwardly at the waist in an effort to escape Jacob's assault. Jacobs landed two more glancing blows off of Mora's torso and one to the region behind Mora's ear. Immediately Mora ducks low, after being hit, below Jacobs knees again as Jacobs assault carries him forward and almost crashing into Mora. The film shows Jacob stepping cleanly over Mora's back to keep from tripping over his fallen body. You can even see the gap between Jacobs and Mora's body as Jacobs is moving away. You don't have to be a forensics expert or a professional ambulance chaser to see Jacobs punch land right before Mora dives low to escape any further punishment... So Mora's movements were precipitated by a punch. Mora wasn't fouled as he caused his own slip in an effort to avoid getting hit again... In any event Mora is done at the top level except as a gatekeeper, and even in the unlikelyhood of a positive verdict by the commission, Danny doesn't lose his paper strap and Mora doesn't gain one. The status change would be a change to a no decision on his record. I can fully understand why Mora would fight for that and I don't blame him. Of course these is just my opinions, I still appreciate and respect the opinions of all those who believe otherwise.
I couldn't see if a clean punch landed or not (will have to watch it again) but I think a technical draw or no contest would have been fair..didn't they do that with BHop/Dawson 1? I agree nobody wants to see this fight again, but I would have like to see how it would have played out. I think Jacobs took alittle too much pride in this win especially after being rocked by Mora (never thought I would have to say that). Either way Jacobs did what he was supposed to do, but if I was his team, I would be alittle concerned about that chin.


-brownsugar :

I couldn't see if a clean punch landed or not (will have to watch it again) but I think a technical draw or no contest would have been fair..didn't they do that with BHop/Dawson 1? I agree nobody wants to see this fight again, but I would have like to see how it would have played out. I think Jacobs took alittle too much pride in this win especially after being rocked by Mora (never thought I would have to say that). Either way Jacobs did what he was supposed to do, but if I was his team, I would be alittle concerned about that chin.
Good point KingBeef, I remember that one, the commission ordered a rematch... I thought Jacobs was confident because Mora started folding up after Jacobs turned up the heat. I though a KO would have been inevitable within the next round or two as Mora didnt seem to have any thing to hold Jacobs back after Jacobs became fired up following the embarrassing knockdown, he fully took over the fight at that point. Just for the record I thought Dawson should have gotten the verdict in the BHop fight too, Bhop wasn't looking too good in that one either. It seemed like he was looking for a way out. But you are right about Jacobs chin, I was wondering when that liability would show up again. His offence is usually so potent we never see Jacobs' weaknesses.