On Saturday, September 18th, the Staples Center had a jam-packed day and night. With the main event between “Azucar” Shane Mosley, 47-6, 39 KO’s vs. Sergio “Latin Snake” Mora, 23-1, 6 KO’s, Golden Boy put together good fight cards showcasing local and international talents. Here’s a breakdown of the night’s action, beginning with Mosley and Mora.
Given his loss to Mosley, I wasn’t sure why he decided to take the fight against Mora. I hadn’t heard of Mora. But I give credit to Golden Boy for pitting two local fighters against one another. I absolutely adore “Azucar” Mosely. Aside from hearing about Mora’s victory on “The Contender,” I then looked at his fight record against Vernon Forrest – impressive in both fights, even as one ended in a loss. Hailing from East Los Angeles, it was definitely a pro-Mora crowd.
In the opening rounds, I had expected to see Mosley let go with his superior hand speed and feints.
But as usual, both fighters just used the first round to see what could work and establish some sort of rhythm. Neither Mosley nor Mora worked to establish a jab which I think Mosley needed to do. They remained reluctant to exchange, and only did so at the closing 10 seconds of each round. Without even knowing about Mora’s particular style of fighting, I observed a good, solid defense, a la Mayweather. Good defense doesn’t always make for a brilliant or even flashy fight, but his defense is good. Mora also showed a transition to southpaw as well as good footwork. Both fighters, however, looked a little off.
As one fellow writer observed, Mosley didn’t even look warmed up.
In the 3rd round, I always think Mosley always shows good feints and good hand speed, but he didn’t follow up. As for Mora – he never established any sort of attack. He continued his defensive posture. But you can’t win a fight on defensive skill alone. You need to show the judges that you will actively engage in each and every round and attack on your own while showing your defensive skill. In the 4th round, Mora got cut over his right eye. I was thinking Mosley would take advantage, but he never did. Both fighters were in the clinch a lot at this point in the fight and Mora’s up and down response – his defense – went up against Mosley’s attack.
In the 5th round, Mora tried to draw Mosley, but he didn’t fall for it – including his hands being visibly down and I thought the cut could get worse, but it got under control. Mora again showed a switch to southpaw, trying to bait Mosley, but again, he didn’t fall for it.
It was more of the same in the 6th round with the fighters in the clinch more often than not. As the 7th round opened, Mosley was in more of an offensive mode and continued to attack. Mora continued his defensive stature, but didn’t counter as much as he could have. As the 8th round approached, the pro-Mora chants started and Mora showed some enthusiasm towards the fight. By the 9th round, Mora had been hanging tough, but he didn’t put any combos together that may have effectively hurt Mosley.
As the fight reached the championship rounds 10 through 12, both fighters had a determined look to close the fight on their own terms by showing more combos and solidifying ownership over the fight. There was a fighter’s urgency to really turn on the attack and Mora finally answered. He began to work inside and he needed to let his hands go. In the 11th round, Mora continued to show his belief in himself by letting go, but didn’t take any risks in his attack and continued his defensive stature. He didn’t change anything nor did he outwardly show he defeated Mosley.
Finally, in the 12th round, both Mosley and Mora started to really turn it on, but it was half-hearted at best. Even as Mora is an admitted defensive fighter, a boxer still needs to make the choice clear to the judges that he owned the fight. Mosley and Mora didn’t outwardly display this particular oomph that makes the judges definitely choose. As I watched the bout, I had Mosley winning. Finally, as Michael Buffer read the cards with the decision as a draw, I nodded my head in agreement. Even as both fighters didn’t look as fierce or determined to take the fight away from one another, the judges called it correctly.
The PPV undercard began with a welterweight 10 round bout between Victor Ortiz, 28-2, 22 KO’s vs Vivian Harris, 29-5, 19 KO’s from Guyana. As of this morning, the south paw Ortiz is now ranked #5 among welterweights.
In the first round, neither Ortiz nor Harris showed much, until 10 seconds into the round. Ortiz opened up and ended the round with applause with the pro-Ortiz crowd. In the opening seconds of the 2nd round, Harris did not exchange, Ortiz sealed Harris’ fate. Ortiz scored 3 knockdowns over Harris. Harris barely survived, visibly shaken by the three knockdowns.
Finally, in the 3rd round, the bout was called after a solid lead hook by Ortiz. At 49 seconds into the round, Ortiz scored the KO. Ortiz is now a contender among welterweights.
I was pleasantly surprised by the 10 round bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 34-0, 25 KO’s vs Carlos Baldomir, 46-12, 14 KO’s for the Super Welterweight Silver title. Baldomir is a great boxer with notable wins against Zab Judah, Arturo Gatti, and Vernon Forrest. He has a notable loss against Floyd Mayweather, JR that resulted in a 12 round UD. Since Baldomir’s last fight in 2009, I thought he looked a little rusty, but I was expecting him to fight a smart fight. As for Alvarez, I remember seeing him fight on the Mayweather JR – Mosley undercard and was equally impressed. At 20, the fighter from Jalisco shows great strength. He looked a little nervous in the opening rounds, but he started to relax. Baldomir is definitely a toe to toe fighter that will brawl.
In the opening rounds, Baldomir worked his jab and had controlled aggression, perhaps looking at the endurance of a possible 12 round fight. But, he wasn’t necessarily hurting Alvarez. Alvarez seemed a little tense at first, a little tight, but I could have been nervousness. Finally, in the 3rd round, Alvarez showed brilliant counterpunching even as Baldomir attacked more. I don’t think Baldomir had the 20 year old rattled at all.
By round 4, it was obvious that both fighters showed a reluctance to really take the fight. Finally, both started to engage. Baldomir exchanged more punches as Alvarez started to fight back. Alvarez’s punches landed solidly, notably with an inside lead hook that rocked Baldomir. By round 5, Alvarez finally settled down into showing some aggression. It was obvious he hadn’t quite relaxed up to this point, but I still had Baldomir winning. Baldomir showed he wasn’t about to give up just yet. However, Alvarez connected more and it may have hurt Baldomir. By round 6, Alvarez capitalized on the momentum from the 5th round and connected with right cross then a left hook that floored Baldomir. It was a solid KO punch by Alvarez. He stood his ground and lined up beautifully for the KO at 3:58 in the 6th round.
As the 2010 fight year slowly comes to a close, Golden Boy Promotions put on an exciting week of events that included the Mexican Bicentennial.
Although the Mosley – Mora fight highlighted a bout of smart, defensive boxing, I enjoyed the evening immensely. I would have liked to see Mosley really let go and relax and invoke the spirit of Mosley past – notably in his bouts against his promoter De La Hoya, but he still showed he’s a boxer – to the core. As for Mora, he took a good fight and I respect his defensive skill. Mora didn’t really lose – I’m sure there will be no shortage of fighters ready to fight him. Let’s just all see what happens in November … I think a lot of fighters, promoters, and fans are just waiting to see who will be fighting who in the upcoming year.