By Keith Idec
Sergio Mora wants to fight on a different network, on a different night and make more money.
To accomplish those things, the former WBC super welterweight champion fully understands that he has to defeat Polish southpaw Grzegorz Proksa on Friday night in Jacksonville, Fla. Mora (23-3-2, 7 KOs) would love nothing more than to get a shot at the heavily promoted middleweight champion that stopped Proksa nearly 10 months ago, but toppling Proksa (29-2, 21 KOs) won’t be easy in a 10-round middleweight match ESPN2 will televise as the main event of a “Friday Night Fights” telecast from Jacksonville, Fla.
“He’s a helluva fighter,” Mora said of Proksa “You don’t get to [HBO] unless you’re pretty good at what you do. And he fought a killer in Gennady Golovkin, a guy who I don’t see as a killer. So after I take care of business on Friday, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to face this so-called killer and I’ll show you what skill can do against killers. But first things first.”
The 32-year-old Mora must win this fight if he is to remain relevant within the middleweight division. The Los Angeles native is 1-2-1 in his last four fights, and although the two losses and the draw came in very competitive fights, he cannot afford another setback.
“The Latin Snake” thinks he did enough to earn a win in his last bout, but Brian Vera won their rematch by majority decision Aug. 11 in San Antonio. Vera (23-6, 14 KOs), who has since recorded two more impressive victories to land a high-profile fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Sept. 7 in Los Angeles, also overcame Mora by split decision in their first fight in February 2011.
“Right now I’m in a position where if I get a televised fight offered to me, then I’m going to take it,” Mora said. “Because if I get robbed, like I did in Texas … Americans get to see it. And it’s the American fans that I care about, because they’re the ones, the pundits, that are trying to push me aside.”
The 28-year-old Proksa won his only fight since Golovkin knocked him out Sept. 1 in Verona, N.Y. That six-round tune-up fight, which Proksa won by unanimous decision Feb. 9 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, came against an opponent with a 13-20-3 record, but Mora expects to encounter the same Proksa who entered his fight against Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs) with a lot of confidence.
“Proksa is very hungry to get back to the position he was in two fights ago,” Mora said, “and that’s the position I want to be in my next fight. … That’s the reason I’m here. Matchmakers at ESPN and matchmakers for [promoter] Artie Pelullo are smart. They know what they’re doing. They know the winner of this gets set up for a middleweight title shot, because I have a name and I’m a former world champion and he’s a high-ranked contender.
“Whether it’s the winner of [Matthew] Macklin and Golovkin [on Saturday night], whether it’s [Sergio] Martinez or Daniel Geale, or whoever. Any middleweight out there can use a name on their resume. And I’m not just a name. I’m someone that’s been to the top. I’m ready to get back to the top and it all starts this Friday.”
The ESPN2 telecast will begin Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. from Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The show will open with a 10-round junior middleweight match that’ll send unbeaten Brazilian prospect Patrick Teixeira (19-0, 17 KOs) against Marcus Willis (13-2-2, 3 KOs), of Fort Myers, Fla.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.