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Middleweight Sergio Mora In Search Of Another World Title…AVILA

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Sergio Mora remains the lost child among middleweight contenders mostly because of his style and remarks from some members of the television crew made during and after a fight with Shane Mosley last year.

It’s a shame because boxing is not made of one style.

Former junior middleweight world champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora (22-2-2) fights Shibata Flores (45-11, 26 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio on Friday night in Southern California. Special guest will be former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Anytime a Latino like Mora fights a slick and defensive style he gets criticized as if it’s not acceptable to the guys behind the mikes. There’s a sort of discrimination occurring that if a fighter is a Latino counter-puncher, he should not be televised. It’s ok for African-American boxers to display that style, but not Latinos, especially if they’re not known for punching power.

Mora has based his whole career on a counter-punching style that led him to becoming a junior middleweight world champion. And you don’t win a world title by luck.

To me the chess game between a pressure fighter and a counter puncher is the ultimate test of prizefighting. A pressure fighter versus a pressure fighter is ok, but even that can lead to monotony.

A few weeks ago the boxing style of Jorge Linares was ultimately dissected by the pressure fighting style of Antonio DeMarco. It’s this kind of match up that makes boxing exciting.

Ever since Mora fought Mosley he’s been treated as a pariah. It’s really not fair. Up to that moment, Mosley had been an aggressive boxer-puncher but slipped into a counter-punch mode. He was unable to contend with Mora’ s style in the boxer-puncher mode and adapted by becoming a counter-puncher. HBO’s crew lambasted the fight and laid most of the blame unfairly on Mora.

The current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez of Argentina has recently fought and stopped a relatively unknown British fighter Darren Barker. Though Barker showed well, why is it that HBO or Martinez’s promoters made this fight instead of pitting a well known fighter like Mora against Martinez?

Word has it that Martinez will be fighting another European boxer who has no credentials with American viewers. How can this be ratified by HBO or the promoters? It’s one of the primary reasons that Martinez cannot seem to gain notice with American fans. He keeps fighting guys from Europe instead of Americans. The viewers just don’t care about no-name Europeans.

Meanwhile, former reality TV star Mora resumes his quest for another world title bid and what better opponent than Flores who has his own championship designs? Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio will be the target area for their Golden Boy Promotions match on Friday.

“I’ve had the worst luck this year. I need to turn it around,” said Mora, 30, who formerly held the WBC junior middleweight title. “Shibata Flores has a lot of experience and he’s a southpaw so I can’t take him lightly.”

Mora is one of only two fighters who defeated the late great Vernon Forrest in a prizefight. In June 2008 Mora beat Forrest by decision to win the world title and join Nicaragua’s Ricardo Mayorga as the only boxers to beat the great Georgia fighter. Two months later Forrest won the rematch with Mora.

Forrest and Mora never had the rubber match to decide who was better. In July 2009, Forrest was shot and killed during a carjacking.

“He was a great fighter,” says Mora, who was Forrest’s last opponent in the boxing ring. “I learned a lot from fighting Vernon.”

Flores knows a thing or two about fighting for a world title too. Back in September 2001 the native of Mexico was ranked number one as a junior middleweight and fought Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas. He also fought Verno Phillips before that fighter captured the world title. He retired from boxing after that fight but now returns eight years later.

“Those are eight years I was not taking punches my friend,” says Flores, who was tagged with the name “Shibata” because he resembles a former Japanese prizefighter named Kuniaki Shibata, a featherweight contender from the 1960s. “I’ve been taking it very slowly. Now I’m going into another level.”

Now training in Big Bear, the Sonora native sparred with another Mexico star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and was able to ascertain where he fits in the boxing world’s stratosphere.

“Sergio Mora has a different technique and is very good. I saw his fights with Shane Mosley and Brian Vera,” said Flores, 39, who is trained by Abel Sanchez. “He has speed and movement. I have power. I think I can do something.”

Thompson Boxing Promotions fight card

Eighty miles west junior featherweights Esquivias (14-0, 9 KOs) and Mexico’s Gonzalez (11-4-1, 7 KOs) headline the fight card at the Doubletree Hotel in Thompson Boxing Promotions fight card.

Esquivias is a quick-fisted contender from Carson who utilizes his pinpoint accuracy to break down opponents. He’s trained by world famous boxing guru Freddie Roach.
Also on the card is Ontario’s Jonathan Arellano, an undefeated junior featherweight, and Pennsylvania’s hard-hitting bantamweight Miguel Diaz.

TBP fighter Artemio Reyes  

Artemio Reyes Jr., a welterweight who fights under the Thompson Boxing Promotions banner, returned from Atlantic City with an impressive win over former Olympian Javier Molina.

“Before the fight Molina said I was not at his level,” said a victorious Artemio Reyes (14-1, 11 KOs) after the bout. “We gave the fans what they came to see, a great fight. Molina showed a lot of guts but he couldn’t put up with the pressure. I came to Atlantic City to get what I deserved: Respect.”

Molina (9-0, 4 KOs) entered the ring undefeated and fought valiantly for eight rounds against the pressure fighting Reyes. But all three judges awarded the decision to San Bernardino’s Reyes whose family in attendance numbered nearly two dozen.

“I did this for my family and all the people that came from home to support me, they are a rowdy bunch and I am sure I made my pops proud, this is for him,” said Reyes whose father Artemio Reyes Sr. has been in a coma for three years. “I am taking the gloves I wore tonight back home for him.”

Fights on television

Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Sergio Mora (22-2-2) vs. Shibata Flores (45-11).

Sat. HBO, 7:15 p.m., Alfredo Angulo (20-1) vs. James Kirkland (29-1).

Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Lucian Bute (29-0) vs. Glen Johnson (51-15-2).

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In a Shocker, Ryan Garcia Confounds the Experts and Upsets Devin Haney

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Its good to be crazy. Like a fox.

Ryan “KingRy” Garcia knocked down WBC super lightweight titlist Devin Haney three times to remind everyone of his fighting abilities in winning by majority decision on Saturday.

“I just knew what I could do,” Garcia said.

Fans will not forget the lanky kid from Victorville, California now.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) fooled everyone in playing crazy weeks before the fight, then showed shocking power to hand Haney (30-1, 15 KOs) his first loss as a professional at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Haney’s WBC super lightweight title was not at stake for Garcia because he weighed three pounds over the limit.

After Garcia seemingly acting out of control on social media, Haney’s guard must have slipped in the first round during the first few seconds as Garcia connected with that hellish left hook and Haney, with a look of shock in his eyes, almost went down. He barely survived the first round.

“He caught me with it,” said Haney.

During the next few rounds, Haney proceeded to advance toward Garcia seemingly fully aware of the lethal left hook. He used feints and rights to score with a busier approach as Garcia seemed cocked and ready to counter with a left hook.

In the fourth round it seemed Haney was confident he had regained control of the fight, but every time he opened up with more than a two-punch combination Garcia reminded him whose hands were faster and more dangerous.

Though Garcia seldom jabbed he seemed bent on looking for the right moment to unleash his deadly left hook. And every time the Southern California fighter opened up with a combination he scored and Haney dare not exchange.

A few times Haney smiled as if signifying he escaped.

In the seventh round Haney looked to punish Garcia’s body and instead was met with a three-punch combination included a left hook to the chin and down went Haney slumped on the ground. He managed to beat the count and as soon as Garcia came within reach Haney wrapped his arms around him with a python grip. Despite the warnings by referee Harvey Dock, the fallen fighter would not release and Garcia impatiently fired a weak punch during the break. The referee deducted a point from Garcia though he could have deducted a point from Haney for not obeying his instructions to release his hold. Haney actually went down three times in the round but only one was counted by the referee.

From that point on Haney was very cautious but still looking to win by decision.

Though Garcia kept using a shoulder-roll defense that left his body exposed, he would retaliate with three and four punch combinations that usually Haney could defend against other fighters.. But Garcia’s blazing combinations were too fast to defend.

In the 10th round Haney looked to attack and was countered by Garcia’s right and a blinding left hook to the chin and another two blows that sent the former undisputed lightweight champion to the floor again.

It didn’t look good for Haney to survive.

Garcia walked into the 11th round still composed and never out-of-control He dared Haney to exchange and when within striking distance Garcia unleashed another lightning combination and down went Haney again with a defeated look.

Both fighters had fought each other as amateurs six times so there were no surprises between them. But Garcia’s power and speed were superior and that was the difference in a professional fight.

In the final round both were cautious with Garcia’s combination punching proving too dangerous for Haney to open up. Garcia celebrated early as the round ended confident of victory.

After 12 rounds Garcia was seen the victor by majority decision 112-112, 114-110, 115-109.

“You really thought I was crazy,” Garcia told the interviewer and the crowd. “You guys hated on me.”

Other Bouts

Arnold Barboza (30-0) won a curious split decision victory over United Kingdom’s Sean McComb (18-2) in a 10-round super lightweight fight. McComb’s long reach and busy southpaw style gave Barboza trouble. But he managed to win the fight though the crowd was not pleased.

Bektemir Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) defeated France’s Pierre Dibombe (22-1-1) by technical decision after eight rounds due to a cut on his eye from an accidental head butt. It was a very competitive super middleweight fight.

Costa Rica’s David Jimenez (16-1, 11 KOs) outworked John “Scrappy Ramirez (13-1, 9 KOs) in a 12-round scrap to upset the Los Angeles based fighter. After a few close rounds Jimenez simply bullied his way inside and forced Ramirez against the ropes and unloaded his guns.

After 12 rounds two judges saw it 117-111 and 116-114 all for Jimenez.

“I’m a hard-working man from Cartago I come from nothing,” said Jimenez. “My corner told me I had to work inside.”

Charles Conwell (19-0, 14 KOs) stepped on the gas early with vicious body shots and uppercuts and blasted through the resilient Nathaniel Gallimore (22-8-1, 17 KOs) for several rounds. After a brutal fifth and sixth round the referee halted the one-side beating in favor of Conwell who was fighting for the first time under the Golden Boy banner.

Another winner was Sergiy Derevyanchenko (15-5) by decision over Vaughn Alexander (18-11-1) in a super middleweight match.

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

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Haney and Garcia: Bipolar Opposites

One young man flew halfway around the world to take on a world champion in his own living room; not once, but twice. The other young man quit prior to one fight, and then again during another one.

The first guy mentioned is an obedient son of an ultra-streetwise father.  The type of parent where, if he doesn’t know the answer (and more times than not he most likely does), he will know where to find it. The second guy doesn’t appear to have that quality guidance scenario going on for him, which is probably for the best, because he believes he has all the answers.

The first guy is on record as saying he wants to go down in boxing history as an all-time great.  The other guy?  He decided not to continue in a fight while he was still sporting an undefeated record.  You may think to yourself if there was ever a time to soldier through, right?

Then yesterday, that same guy missed making weight by 3.2 pounds, and seemed to be more than fine with it, to the point where he actually appeared to be quite pleased with himself.

If you haven’t heard, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia are going to share a boxing ring in a twelve round go for God knows what will be at stake by the time they actually punch off.  The fact that no one from Garcia’s team has stepped in and rescued him from these unfolding events, his own personal well-being, and/or not to mention Devin Haney is, well, troubling in and of itself.

Back in the amateur days, the record shows they split six fights.  They were boys back then, so it means zero.  If anything, you’d want to be the older of the two, and Ryan had over a three-month age advantage.  If you’ve only been on the planet for a total of 120 months or so, every extra month could be a big enough difference in strength and development. Now as world class professionals in their prime?  That’s different.  Younger is always better.  Devin is that guy.

Haney and Garcia fought six times for free but will fight only once as professionals.  Then one of them will continue with their march for historic greatness, while the other will head back to Kamp Krazy, where he’s the current Mayor.

It’s never smart to lay 8-1, 9-1 in boxing.  And if you see taking Garcia as a value bet with +500 to +600 and beyond, you don’t understand value and you evidently don’t like money.

There is, however, a wagering opportunity here.

Total Rounds:  Fight doesn’t go 10.5 rounds.

Take anything over +125.  It’s worth a unit on a scale of 5.  Logically, there are a lot of ways to cash this ticket: legitimate victory, meltdown, catching lightning in a bottle, etc.  Or simply the exiting stage left of a guy who may be already plotting his next career move.

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In a Massive Upset, Dakota Linger TKOs Kurt Scoby on a Friday Night in Atlanta

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Although it was an 8-rounder on a show with two “tens,” Kurt Scoby’s match with Dakota Linger was accorded main event status on tonight’s card at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. This had everything to do with Scoby (pronounced Scooby), a former record-setting college running back who was considered one of the brightest prospects in the 140-pound weight class. “[Scoby] works harder than almost anyone I’ve ever seen,” said veteran New York promoter Lou DIBella in a conversation with Keith Idec. “But he’s literally getting better after every fight and he’s got the hammer of Thor, man. He can punch through walls.”

The Duarte, California product who has relocated to Brooklyn and trains at Gleason’s Gym, was undefeated (13-0) heading in and was expected to make Linger his ninth straight knockout victim. But Linger, a 29-year-old Buckhannon, West Virginia policemen whose first ring engagements were in Toughman competitions, wasn’t intimidated by Scoby’s press clippings or by Scoby’s bodybuilder physique.

Linger, who improved to 14-6-3 with his tenth win inside the distance, took the fight right to Scoby and repeatedly found a home for his overhand right. In the sixth round, after Linger strafed the ever-retreating Scoby with a barrage of punches, referee Malik Walid determined that he had seen enough and waived it off. The decision seemed a tad premature, but neither Scoby nor his cornermen offered anything in the way of a protest.

Tournament results

In the first installment of an 8-man super welterweight tournament, Brandon Adams returned to boxing after his second three-year layoff and showed no ring rust whatsoever. Adams, a 34-year-old family-man who grew up in the Watts district of LA, dismissed Ismael Villareal with a wicked punch to the liver in the waning seconds of round three. The official time was 2:59.

A former wold title challenger, Adams who improved to 23-3 (16 KOs), has become the king of boxing tournaments. He first attracted notice in 2018 when he won the fifth edition of “The Contender” series, scoring a wide 10-round decision over Shane Mosley Jr in the championship round.

Villareal, a second-generation prizefighter from the Bronx whose dad fought the likes of Hector Camacho, declined to 13-3.

Adams next opponent will be Francisco Veron who will bring a record of 14-0-1 (10).

In an energetic 10-rounder, Veron, a Florida-based Argentine with a strong amateur pedigree, scored a unanimous decision over Mexico-born, LA southpaw Angel Ruiz (18-3-1). The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, and 96-94.

Ruiz certainly had his moments, but Veron launched and landed many more punches despite fighting the last six rounds with a damaged eye.

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