FORMER Contender star and WBC light-middleweight champion Sergio Mora was offered a shot at Jermain Taylor back in 2007, when Taylor was the undisputed middleweight king. Surprisingly, “The Latin Snake,” as 34-year-old Mora is known, turned down the fight to the derision of many. But now, some eight years on, Mora, 27-3-2(9) will at last challenge Taylor, on February 6th, for Taylor’s IBF middleweight title.
36-year-old Taylor, 33-4-1(20) rejuvenated his career with the points win he scored over Sam Soliman last October and Mora will be the first man to challenge “Bad Intentions” for the belt.
Here’s what Mora had to say about the upcoming fight:
Q: Firstly, Sergio, how impressed were you by Taylor’s win over Soliman?
Sergio Mora: “Well, I think Jermain fought the same way he always has fought. He looked strong, his jab looked good and his good right hand was coming behind it. Sam Soliman is a very strong, experienced and determined fighter, who plenty of top level fighters have looked bad against. Even at age 40, with one leg, Sammy put up a competitive fight. Actually, I think that fight says a lot more about Soliman than it does Taylor.”
Q: You were offered a shot at Taylor way back in 2007 yet turned it down. Have you any regrets over that and do you intend to make up for it next month?
S.M: “Regrets are a waste of time. We don’t live backwards so why should I dwell on looking in that direction? My team and me, we aren’t fortune tellers. But we are boxing savvy and we make the best decisions possible, always considering each pro and con. It’s always a team decision; they’re [my team] the ones who have been there in the very beginning for me. I always respect their input and I’m extremely loyal.”
Q: How much do you think Taylor has left at age 36, and after having had such a long career?
S.M: “First and foremost, a champion is a champion. You must respect that. To me, looking from the outside, he looks the same to me. I believe it will be an action packed fight.”
Q: Do you think there is any chance Taylor, being older and more experienced now, may try to box you, in almost a chess match type of fight?
S.M: “No, Jermain doesn’t seem like the chess type of fighter to me; that’s my game! But again, I think it will be an action fight. I’ve scored three knockdowns in my last four fights, with two of my wins coming by stoppage. I’m looking to hurt, not just out-point my opponents now.”
Q: You are always in good physical shape and you look fresh for age 34. How much do you feel you have left to offer?
S.M: “Thank you. I give my trainer/strategist Dean Campos credit for that. Any boxer in his mid-thirties, who is still competing against the best talent, he must have good defensive skills. Just look at the current pound-for-pound list: most of the fighters there are in their 30s and they don’t take punishment in their fights. Boxers with longevity aim to make that list [pound-for-pound], not the [Arturo] Gatti list! I’m hugely self motivated for this fight. Any fighter needs a mixture of fear and motivation to win. I fear losing and I need this belt!”
Q: Do the majority of fans still recognise you mostly from your time in The Contender?
S.M: “Yes they do. Television is a powerful tool and I was on network TV, on NBC, for 16 straight weeks. Then The Contender was sold and shown around the world. I turned 15-minutes [of fame] into a successful boxing career thanks to The Contender. Also, I have more stories than a library! Celebrity is a funny, fickle thing, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m enjoying the ride through the highs and lows.”
Q: Who do you feel is the best middleweight in the world right now?
S.M: “Every fighter should think they are the best, or at the least can compete with the best. GGG is the best middleweight at this point, but Miguel Cotto is the lineal middleweight champion and a lucrative pay day for any middleweight. Golovkin isn’t [a good pay day]. Cotto brings the money at this point.”
Q: Do you see a KO win for yourself on February 6, and will you look to fight the big fights at middleweight if you do beat Taylor?
S.M: “Well, I’ll be looking to catch him cleanly and if he wobbles, he goes. And as I said before, this fight was a team decision; my team got me this fight and my team will help me decide what I do in the future. Al Haymon is the man with the plan, I have to make sure I’m there to execute it.”
Sergio said our readers can follow him on Twitter/Instagram: @TheLatinSnake_