Mora loses a big one

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: February 5, 2011

IOWA CITY (BASN) — Sergio Mora was a graduate of the first “The Contender” series and like Peter Manfredo — who appeared on ESPN’s Friday night fights earlier this year — 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 lost was to the same aforementioned Forest in a rematch and managed a draw against Shane Mosley, a Hall of Fame fighter when he retires.

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 Friday night, 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 his 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 Charles Hatley against his toughest opponent, 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 90 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 force Hatley to fight.

From the second round on, Chatman aggressively pressured Hatley, forcing him 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 him to win.

When he 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 a round left, a Chatman straight left sent Hatley down but 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 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 competition. Hatley needed to call on all his limited experience and survive against a determine opponent.

THE MAIN EVENT

Vera’s strategy was to challenge the light punching Mora by constant pressure and not allow Mora to set his own pattern. He always had one flaw that kept him from becoming an elite fighter — a lack of power punch.

With only six knockouts in his 22 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 his 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 shots to score.

The fight was scored a split decision for Brian Vera.

Mora 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.

He lacks the knock out punch or that overwhelming hand speed that separates good fighters from great fighters. Manny Pacquaio’s greatness is helped by his power and hand speed and Floyd Mayweather’s defensive prowess is helped by his fast hands.

Mora does not have Pacquaio’s power or Mayweather’s 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 upset.

Vera will never be a champion but like Mora, he has had a good career that very few boxers can have.