Sergio Mora was a graduate of the first
The Contender series and
like Peter Manfredo, who appeared on ESPN
Friday night fights earlier this year, he
became a popular fighter.
Mora, unlike others from that first
year, at least won one title against Vernon
Forest, a very good fighter in his own
right. His only loss was
to Forest in a
rematch and he managed a draw against Shane
Mosley, a Hall of Fame fighter when he
Mora proved to be a good fighter but not all
time great but at least he has some
meaningful victories in his career. His
opponent, Brian Vera, was also a graduate of
The Contender Series two
years later. Vera never reached the summit
that Mora reached but for this night, he had
the chance to make his mark.
Vera came into the fight as the
underdog but he has upset undefeated
fighters in his career including Andy Lee
and Sebastien Demers.
The opening bout featured undefeated
prospects Christ Hatley against his toughest
opponent to date, Chris Chatman. The first round
looked like Hatley would end the fight as he
landed a beautiful right hand against
Chatman who came out in a southpaw stance.
For the next ninety seconds, Chatman
survived Hatley's barrage before righting the
ship over the final thirty seconds of the
round. From this point
Chatman engaged in a strategy of attack and
forced Hatley to fight.
From the second round on, Chatman
aggressively pressured Hatley, forcing
Hatley to counter attack.
If the first round was an easy round
for Hatley, the second thru the seventh were
difficult rounds to score and difficult for
Hatley to win. When
Hatley forced the fight in the middle of the
round, he held all the cards with his
quicker hands. When
Chatman forced Hatley to the rope, he was
able to apply pressure with an effective
body attack. Throughout
the early rounds, Hatley more accurate
punching allowed him to garner a lead on the
scorecard but as the fight progressed,
Hatley slowed down and Chatman forced the
fight to the ropes.
Hatley held the lead going into the eighth
round and all he had to do was to stay
standing plus avoid hitting the canvas for
even a knockdown.
Chatman needed a knockout to win, so he went
all out against the moving Hatley.
With half of round left, a Chatman
straight left sent Hatley down; he
managed to beat the count but he wobbled the
rest of the round as he desperately tried to
survive the round.
Chatman threw everything he had to end the
fight but Hatley managed to end the round on
his feet. The fight was
scored a majority draw as Hatley won one
card but the knockdown cost him a victory on
two other cards as he managed only a draw on
the remaining two judges’ scorecards.
This was Hatley's first big test as Chatman
had already fought tougher competition and
had already ended the streak of two previous
undefeated fighters whereas Hatley had been
brought up slowly against inferior
needed to call on all his limited experience
and survive against a determined opponent.
Brian Vera vs Sergio Mora...
Vera's strategy was to challenge the light
punching Mora by constant pressure and not
allowing Mora to set his own pattern. Mora
always had one flaw that kept him from
becoming an elite fighter, a lack of power
punch. With only six knockouts in his twenty
two victories, Mora always depended upon his
guile and boxing skills. He has been willing
to trade punches but he also could box. Vera
was not going to match Mora if it turn into
a boxing match but he knew he could take
Mora's best. From the
opening bell to the closing bell, Vera
attacked and Mora defended.
This was a fight with many close rounds, as
Mora often defended well, blocking many
punches but Vera was the busier fighter and
his punches had more pop.
Throughout the fight, Mora counters
effectively but Vera's body shot scored as
well and allowed an occasional head shot to
score. The fight was
scored a split decision for Brian Vera.
Mora's weakness was on display since he could
never punish Vera when Vera attacked.
Vera never was hurt
Mora is a good and entertaining
fighter but he is not a great fighter.
Mora lacks the knock out punch or
that overwhelming hand speed that separates
good fighters from great fighters.
Pacquiao's greatness is helped by his
power and hand speed and Floyd Mayweather,
defensive prowess is helped by his fast
hands. Mora does not
have Pacquaio power or Mayweather hand
speed, which is why he has become a good
fighter but not an elite fighter. He does
many things well but not one or two things
great. As for Vera, he
is a good fighter, capable of the occasional
upset but he is not a top ten fighter.
Beating Mora will be his career highlight
but in a career that has featured a few
major upsets. Vera will
never be a champion but like Mora, he has
had a good career that very few boxers can
Prospect have much to Learn
Lateef Kayode has been a
ShoBox regular as he knocked out 14 fighters
in 15 victories in a career in which he has
yet to taste defeat. His
opponent Nicholas Iannuzzi had only lost one
fight in 17 bouts with 9 knockouts.
Iannuzzi started the bout
boxing and over the first three rounds, he
moved out of harm's way.
Kayode looked amateurish as he chased as
opposed to cutting off the ring.
Iannuzzi often escaped and avoided
getting trapped on the ropes. It wasn’t
until the second half of the fight that Iannuzzi
slowed down and only then could Kayode
actually connect on a series of punches.
In the first five rounds, he found
himself often hitting air while being
countered but over the second half of the
fight, Iannuzzi slowed down enough to be
vulnerable to Kayode’s punches.
Kayode advantage going
into the fight was his power and ability to
end a fight with one punch but against
Iannuzzi, he could never connect on the
punch he needed to end the fight.
Over the last two rounds,
Kayode jabbed effectively and landed a few
shots but he could not stop Iannuzzi. While
Kayode won the fight on his pressure, it was
a much closer fight than the score card
Two of the cards had an easy Kayode
victory but the reality, the 95-94 in Kayode's
favorite was closer to the reality of the
fight. In the early rounds, Kayode did not
punch enough to win a round but judges gave
him the benefit simply because he moved
forward. What this fight
showed is that Kayode is not close to a
championship fight as he was simply
outclassed at times against an opponent he
should have beaten easily.
Iannuzzi showed that Kayode has much
to learn and cutting the ring off is one
In the second bout, Cuban
Luis Franco hoped to keep his undefeated
against what could be described as his toughest
opponent, Leonilo Miranda, hard slugging
Mexican. In the first
round, Leonilo Miranda nearly stopped Franco
as he sent the Cuban down (even though the
referee called it a slip but there was no
doubt that Franco went down as a result of a
knockdown and he looked shaken over the next
thirty seconds from the effect of the
Franco used his boxing
skills over the next two rounds but he was
shaken in the fourth round; a round that
he was winning. Over the
second half of the fight, Franco hand speed
allowed him to score but Miranda body shots
had their effect. By the
eighth round, Franco was reduced to fighting
toe to toe and there were times in the
bouts Miranda hurt Franco.
Over the last three
rounds, Franco depended upon his chin to
take Miranda's best shots and his quick hands
to outscore Miranda but Miranda managed to
hurt Franco. For Franco,
it was desperation time but he managed to
win a split decision.
Like Kayode, Franco was
viewed ready for a championship bout but
what these fights show is that neither fighter is
close to championship caliber.
Both fighters are solid prospects
but being a prospect is not the same as
being a contender. It means you need more time