Dog Fight: Sergio Mora vs Vernon Forrest II
By Coyote Duran vs Debbie Duran, (Sept 13, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Will Hart/HBO)  
Coyote Duran/Sergio Mora - I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stunned stupid in witnessing ‘Contender: Season One’s’ champion/current WBC super welterweight titlist Sergio Mora’s calculated whittling of former ‘Ring Magazine’ World Welterweight Champion Vernon Forrest in June. Who knew ‘The Latin Snake’ had the basic skill set to negate the veteran acumen of ‘The Viper’? Answer; in the here and now?: We do. Many of us were critical when watching the feather-fisted Mora struggle with Elvin Ayala; gaining but a draw in the process, and perhaps, made our judgments based on that fight
when we should’ve been bracketing other Mora performances in order to best make our assessments. We didn’t consider that Mora’s pre-Forrest fight was against Rito Ruvalcaba, a veteran, himself, that, although he’s suffered his share of losses (not to mention knockout losses, at that), he’s also been around the block. Mora KO’ed him, as well, and when Mora pulls a ‘Sven Ottke’ (check out Mora’s knockouts. You’ll see where I’m going), you know it’s Lottery Ticket Day.

To be fair, Mora’s stoppage of Ruvalcaba was mired in controversy due to Rito’s willingness to press on after taking hard shots on the ropes; besides the fact that Ruvalcaba was ahead on two of the scorecards going into the sixth round. Thus one more thing that helped us write off Mora’s previous chance-in-hell against Forrest. If Rito Ruvalcaba could make this kid look bad, forget it. Forrest is taking him to school and leaving him there.

And that’s what Forrest did. He took Mora to school, left him there, but didn’t teach him anything. Mora was a different fighter in June and Forrest was the opposite of who he was expected to be. In succumbing to Mora’s jab and improved boxing skill, Forrest showed he was past the fighter who, ironically, spotlighted the jab to hand ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley his first defeat. Sure, Forrest opened up strong but slowed past the third heat allowing the younger ‘Snake’ to set up a body attack via his active jab. And so what if not all of Mora’s shots connected when Mora was throwing in plural? His work rate guaranteed that, at least, some connects would prove successful. On John McKaie and Anek Hongtongkam’s scorecards, that was really what mattered. Throw in a somewhat animated style of movement and punch origin that, historically, Forrest has had trouble deciphering in the past (see: Ricardo Mayorga) and Vernon Forrest remains solved.

Will the rematch prove to be similar if not a mirror-image of Fight One? Who knows? Rematches, by and large, rarely live up to the first fight and if you thought Fight One was subpar in accordance to your own personal entertainment/fistic standards, then you might just think Fight Two downright sucks. But quality isn’t what we’re going for here. Results are. The calm, analytic philosopher Sergio Mora will take the second fight by unanimous decision; using his effective jab, excellent conditioning, patience, rapport with trainer Dean Campos and better, prepared defense; formulated to repel any anticipated pressure Forrest is planning on bringing.

Geez, I wish I had considered these variables prior to the first fight. A few writers did. I wasn’t one of them.


Debbie Duran/Vernon Forrest -
I thought Vernon Forrest would win the first meeting against Sergio Mora and, you know what? I still think he’s going to beat him on Saturday in the rematch. Mora has an unusual style that Forrest even admitted threw him off. I can’t see a possibility of Forrest being affected by it once again. If that’s the case and Forrest loses again to what he called “a herky-jerky style” than he’s pretty stubborn, short-sighted, and unwilling to learn. I don’t believe any of that. I think Vernon has shown that at 37 years-old, he’s done more than can be expected from a 37 year-old fighter. We’re really quick to dismiss fighters when they hit a certain age and part of that is because of what their bodies go through in the span of a career. When fighters reach the age when we lame, powdery writers tell them to “hang ‘em up” is when they go and prove us wrong. Ok, maybe not all of them, but a good amount of them. So they change trainers or up their conditioning or whatever. It’s like tuning up a car or making general repairs. It’s new life. Vernon Forrest got himself a world title late in the game when everyone told him he was done after the Ricardo Mayorga losses and all of the shoulder injuries. ‘Nuff said.

Vernon was hesitant in their first fight. He just didn’t pull the trigger when he had enough opportunity to do so. Now, he will. He has to take the shots and take them hard when the openings emerge. There’s better prep in the Forrest camp too, this time around, having moved operations to Atlanta. Where other fighters can get distracted by going home to train, Vernon and trainer Buddy McGirt’s strategy is to refresh themselves with the change of scenery. Maybe the motivation of home will remind Vernon about where he came from and why he decided to get into this business anyway.

See? A repair! A tune-up! A change in oil! Get where I’m coming from? Huh? Huh?

I think Sergio Mora is a good boxer and he’s an exception to “The Contender” rule. I don’t think he’s just a sparring partner as Vernon Forrest made him out to be before their first fight. But against the right kind of Vernon Forrest, the one who was supposed to be in the ring on June 7th, Mora will discover what takes to face a solid, wily vet. And Vernon Forrest will win his belt back, this time by unanimous decision.

Take that, Coyote.

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