- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- Fighting for the first time in 19 months, middleweight Sergio Mora stopped pesky Calvin Green in the seventh round of a spirited, but one-sided brawl on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Roy Jones Jr.-Bernard Hopkins II undercard.
Mora, who won the first season of "The Contender" reality show in 2005, upset the late Vernon Forrest to win a junior middleweight title in June 2008. However, Mora, of East Los Angeles, lost it via unanimous decision in the rematch three months later and hadn't fought since.
It took a couple of rounds for Mora (22-1-1, 6 KOs) to find his rhythm.
"By the third round I felt like 'The Latin Snake' was back," Mora said. "He was a tough guy but I got in there and I let my hands flow."
The 5-foot-8 Green (21-5-1, 13 KOs), of Baytown, Texas, was four inches shorter than Mora but came out swinging immediately and cut Mora over his left eye in the first round.
Mora, however, did not come undone by the sight of his own blood and stayed calm as the fight developed into a slugfest.
"I'm so used to cuts," Mora said. "I'm used to being lacerated, so it didn't bother me."
Mora was faster and bigger than Green and hammered him with body shots and combinations.
Green showed enormous heart as he took a shellacking round after round, but kept coming forward. But Mora was there to greet him with body shots and combinations that bounced him around.
Finally, in the seventh round, although Green wasn't seriously hurt, he was taking a lot of clean punches, so referee Russell Mora intervened at 1 minute, 50 seconds.
"I want to fight the best," Sergio Mora said. "I want to get back in there ASAP."
Litzau tops Juarez
Junior lightweight Jason Litzau scored the biggest win of his career, a seven-round technical decision against friend and former sparring partner Rocky Juarez.
The judges had it 68-65 and 67-66 (twice) as Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs) lost for the first time in a fight other than a world title bout.
Juarez is 0-5-1 in title bouts (0-2-1 at featherweight, 0-3 at junior lightweight). Litzau (27-2, 21 KOs) had been busier than Juarez throughout the bout when it came to a sudden ending.
An accidental head clash in the sixth round caused major damage under Litzau's left eye. After it got worse in the seventh round, referee Jay Nady stopped the bout and sent it to the scorecards because of the accidental foul.
Juarez, of Houston, was returning to the 130-pound division after a tough 2009 in which he was the recipient of a controversial draw against featherweight titlist Chris John followed by a clear decision loss to him in an immediate rematch.
Litzau, of St. Paul, Minn., won his fourth in a row following an eighth-round knockout loss to then-featherweight titleholder Robert Guerrero in 2008.
• Light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh (12-0, 11 KOs), a standout amateur in Ukraine now based in California, had an easy time with Daniel Judah (23-5-3, 10 KOs), stopping Zab Judah's brother 49 seconds into the second round.
Sillakh, 25, who is signed to Jones' Square Ring Promotions, scored two knockdowns in the second round, including a hard body shot on the second knockdown, before referee Vic Drakulich called it off.
Judah, 32, lost his second in a row and for the fourth time in his last six bouts.
"I was not surprised to knock him out so early," Sillakh said. "I told you I would do it, knock him out. He is a good southpaw but I was looking to go to the body because he was holding his hands up at his face. Then he dropped his hands and I hit him with my favorite punch, the right cross."
• Heralded amateur junior welterweight Frankie Gomez (1-0, 1 KO) scored a third-round TKO against Clavonne Howard (2-4, 1 KO) in his professional debut.
"I wasn't nervous at all," Gomez said. "I was a little rusty. He was a good tough fighter. He could take shots. I have been waiting to get in there [as a pro] for a long time. It felt really good."
The East Los Angeles native, who shares the same Feb. 4 birthday with his promoter, Golden Boy's Oscar De La Hoya, signed with the company in late February after a standout amateur career in which he was a 2009 U.S. national champion and silver medalist at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Milan, Italy, in September. Gomez, 18, was the only American to reach the finals.
In his pro debut, Gomez kept his arms pumping as he dominated Howard, of Palm Beach, Fla. Gomez looked to mix it up throughout the fight and was landing with regularity in the third round when referee Joe Cortez jumped in to stop it with 15 seconds left. It was the first time Howard has been stopped.
Golden Boy plans to keep Gomez busy, scheduling him to fight approximately once per month for the rest of the year.
Also on the undercard, Los Angeles-based Scottish middleweight Craig McEwan (18-0, 10 KOs) stopped Canada's Kris Andrews (15-9-2, 4 KOs) at 2:11 of the eighth and final round; super middleweight James McGirt Jr. (22-2-1, 11 KOs), the son of former welterweight champ Buddy McGirt (who trains his son) knocked out John Mackey (11-5-2, 5 KOs) at 2:58 of the second round; and Cleveland junior lightweight Yaundale Evans (6-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Juan Baltierrez at 2:08 of the second round.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
Sergio Mora managed to keep his composure despite being cut to stop Calvin Green in seven rounds.