U.S. Virgin Islands-based middleweight contender Samuel "Rock City Cobra" Rogers says he's ready for the biggest fight of his career this Saturday, May 31.
Rogers (14-1, 8 KOs) will face former WBA junior middleweight world champion and "The Contender" champion, WBA #10-rated Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora (25-3-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-rounder that will serve as the chief supporting bout on DiBella Entertainment's and Sampson Boxing's (in association with Right Hook Promotions) event entitled "Real Fights" in the Tropicana Pavilion at the New Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas.
The co-main events that night will be telecast live on HBO Latino and HBO2 (12 midnight [ET/PT]) and feature a 10-round super featherweight battle between Dominican former world champion Javier "El Abejon" Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) and heavy-handed Mexican contender Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs), as well as an "All Puerto Rico" 10-round super bantamweight war between undefeated Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) and Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs).
Tickets for "Real Fights" are priced at $85, $65 and $37 (plus applicable taxes). They are available for purchase online (www.troplv.com), in person at the Tropicana Las Vegas Show Tickets desk or by phone (800-829-9034).
Rogers knows he'll be coming in as the underdog in this bout, as he suffered his first professional loss in his last fight, a 10-round decision to Argentina's Carlos Adan Jerez, in Argentina, last February. But says it's a role he is looking forward to playing in this battle of "serpentine" middleweights.
How did training go for this fight?
Training was awesome. We stepped it up and brought in guys from Puerto Rico and Spain for sparring. Long and lanky guys, who don't do a lot of punching but are explosive and sharp. They were all very good fighters too, not chumps I can walk over. They pushed my stamina to where I need to be, conditioning-wise. Working hard at that level put me in a new mind frame and made it seem as if I was in the fight already. My stamina is tremendous. I'm really confident and I can't wait to step in the ring.
What have you learned so far about your opponent, Sergio Mora?
The guy talks a lot. He has a big mouth and that's expected of him. That's how he is. I just need to stay calm and relax. For me, the fight will begin at the press conference because he'll be trying to get in my head. I have to stay poised and get ready for that bell. He's a spot fighter. He doesn't fight the whole three minutes of every round. He does bursts and then goes into a void for another minute and a half. He doesn't hit that hard. He's a technician. The one thing that is positive in his favor is he's durable. He can do ten rounds, so I'm expecting to go ten with him. If I catch him with a good punch, I'll try to stop him early. I'm looking forward to a good explosive fight.
You lost your last fight. What have you learned from that experience?
Staying focused, being relaxed. No matter what happens in a fight; if I'm cut or get an injury, I have to stick to the game plan and listen to my corner. They can see more than I can when I'm in there.
What would a victory over Sergio Mora mean to you?
It's going to put me where I need to be. I'm rated number 16 by the NABF. He's number 9. I'm going to take his spot and call out guys like Peter Quillin and Gennady Golovkin and all the champs at 160.
Tell me about the support you receive from the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands?
The fans back home are unbelievable. We got a lot of sponsors behind us too, too many to mention them all from memory. Everybody back home comes out and supports us. The sponsors have made it possible for me to be here with their support. I want to thank everyone from the USVI and all my sponsors. Without all of you, I wouldn't be able to do this.
How do you envision this fight with Mora unfolding?
He's going to get frustrated and try to come in and pressure me and wear me down, mentally. He'll try to get in my head by talking a lot of smack. I need to be aggressive, throw combinations and never back up. I need to stick to the jab, keep that telephone pole in his face all night long like Vernon Forrest did to him.
In separate bouts, hometown favorites Rocco Santomauro (11-0) and Jesus Gutierrez (11-0) both put their unblemished record on the line when Santomauro squares off against Daniel Quevedo and Gutierrez takes on Pablo Becerra.