Mora Wins The Million!
By Scott Mallon (April 26, 2005)  
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Sergio Mora, 16-0 (3) outboxed Peter Manfredo Jr., 24-2 (10), to win ‘The Contender’ million dollar prize and remain undefeated. There were no knockdowns however the fight was close and action packed throughout. Mora's crisp punches, movement and inside fighting made the difference. A dejected Peter Manfredo takes home $500,000.

Manfredo had Mora's back to the ropes throughout the fight however Mora was able to effectively counter with short hooks and uppercuts. In the first few rounds of the seven rounder, Mora repeatedly turned southpaw and used a right hook to the body in an effort to wear down Manfredo. In round one a small cut was opened above the left eye of Mora but had little effect on the fighter. Manfredo landed a punch after the bell and when he tried to apologize, Mora wanted none of it. In the second round Mora landed punches from all angles and used his foot movement to work his way in and out of danger while in the center of the ring. Manfredo sustained his attack of Mora ropes however Mora was able to fight back and fight his way out when needed.

In the middle rounds Mora continued to fight determinedly off the ropes with short punches. By the fourth round Manfredo began to show signs of tiring and apparently the body shots of Mora were starting to reap dividends. Mora changed his stance back and forth from orthodox to southpaw, connecting with lefts and rights every so often when lunging in. At the close of the fourth round Mora raised both his arms in jubilation and it seemed clear, on this evening, he would not be denied. Manfredo continued to try and pin Mora on the ropes however was largely ineffective. The next round though, both fighters opened up in the center of the ring and went toe-to-toe. Neither was able to gain an advantage and neither gave any ground. During the clinches Mora would taunt Manfredo and also Manfredo's father and ended up getting caught with a shot at the end of the round.

Mora refocused and seemed to know he was on his way to victory. Anytime Manfredo tried to mount an attack he doggedly fired back and nullified it. In the final round both men fought aggressively and non-stop. As the round progressed though it was Mora who had more left and who came on strong. As if to add emphasis to his cause, Mora landed a hard right at the end of the fight. Judge Duane Ford scored the bout 69-64, Jerry Roth had it 68-65, while Paul Smith saw it 70-63.

The ending of the show couldn't have been scripted much better and rematches between some of the contenders are already in the works. Producer Mark Burnett has plans of continuing the cancelled show and will now shop around for a new home for the series.

Gomez victorious over Brinkley

Alphonso Gomez, who has a habit of engaging in tough bouts, gritted out a unanimous decision over Jesse Brinkley on ‘The Contender’ undercard. The loss was the second in a row for Brinkley and possibly sets up a bout between Manfredo and Gomez.

Judges scores: 48-47, 48-47, 49-46.

Lange wins $200,000

In the third fan favorite bout of the afternoon, Jimmy Lange of Great Falls, VA., outhustled Tarick Salmaci to win a majority decision. With the victory, Lange notches his 25th win and receives the largest payday of his career.

Judges scores: Chuck Giampa 49-45, Bill Graham 47-47, Glenn Trowbridge 49-45.

Smith outboxes Bonsante

Ishe Smith used his superior speed and combination punching to win a unanimous decision over Anthony Bonsante. Billed as a fight for the ‘I’m The Number 1 Daddy’ title, Smith simply had too much skill for Bonsante whose brawling tactics nearly got him disqualified. With the win Smith goes to 16-1.

Judges scores: Chuck Giampa 49-43, Bill Graham 49-43, Dave Moretti 49-43.

Fraser wins split decision over Brent Cooper 

In the first ‘Contender’ fan favorite prelim, New Englander and Mickey Ward protégé Jeff Fraser used a high work rate to beat up Brent Cooper for 5 rounds to win what was a surprisingly close split decision in Las Vegas. Fraser, who was determined medically unfit to continue in ‘The Contender’ reality show, pockets $25,000.

Judges scores: Bill Graham 49-46 (Fraser), Glenn Trowbridge 48-47 (Fraser), Dave Moretti 48-47 (Cooper).
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