Mosley to return against Mora
Former three-division champion Shane Mosley, coming off a lopsided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1, will return to face former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday night.
Schaefer said the scheduled 12-round 154-pound fight will headline a pay-per-view card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 18 and be the culmination of several days of festivities Golden Boy is planning surrounding the bicentennial of Mexican Independence Day.
Mosley (46-6, 39 KOs) and Mora (22-1-1, 6 KOs), both former junior middleweight titleholders from Los Angeles, have scored major victories at the Staples Center and will return with their eye on another.
"With Shane, you have somebody who fights everybody and with Sergio you have a guy who has really wanted a big challenge," Schaefer said. "It's a fight he's wanted for a long time and to do it in his backyard on Mexican independence weekend makes it an even more meaningful fight for him. For Shane, he loves fighting at Staples Center and he is looking forward to this fight as well."
Mosley's career defining first victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 to win the welterweight title came in the Staples Center's inaugural boxing event. In 2009, Mosley scored a major upset when he won the welterweight title for the second time by knocking out Antonio Margarito in the ninth round in front of 20,802, the largest crowd for any event in building history.
Mora also has fond memories of the arena. After outpointing Peter Manfredo in May 2005 to win the first season of "The Contender" reality series and the $1 million jackpot, he beat him again in the rematch in October 2005 at Staples Center.
"Ten years ago, Sugar Shane Mosley fought a young man from East L.A., Oscar De La Hoya, at Staples Center," Schaefer said. "We felt if we could bring Shane back there 10 years later against another top Hispanic fighter, Sergio Mora, who is also from East L.A. and who also has history at the Staples Center, it would be a great fight to anchor our big card on the holiday weekend. It's the perfect fight for Los Angles and will cap a week of great activities to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence."
For Mora, the fight will be a chance to get into the ring with a fighter he has always wanted to fight and one he has deep respect for.
"We were supposed to spar one time back around 2003 or 2004 when I was up in Big Bear [Calif.] and I was looking forward to that," Mora told ESPN.com. "He has the fastest hands I've ever seen in person or on TV. I was suited up to spar with him, but they didn't need me that day. I wanted to work with him, but they had too many sparring partners. Now we're supposed to fight for real. I like it that way."
By making Mosley-Mora, it eliminated the possibility of Mosley facing welterweight titlist Andre Berto on Sept. 25, the date HBO had set aside for a fight it was anxious to put back together after it was canceled in January following the earthquake in Haiti that killed eight members of Berto's family. However, Mosley insisted on the lion's share of a 60-40 deal while the Berto side was unwilling to take less than 50-50. Once it became clear the negotiations -- which were still in play on Tuesday -- were at a stalemate, Schaefer moved quickly to close Mosley-Mora.
Also due to fight on the pay-per-view card is rising 19-year-old junior middleweight contender Saul Alvarez (32-0-1, 24 KOs), one of Mexico's most popular fighters, assuming he wins and is uninjured in a July 10 bout against Luis Cuello in Mexico. Schaefer said junior welterweight contender Victor Ortiz (27-2-1, 21 KOs) the 2008 ESPN.com prospect of the year from Oxnard, Calif., might also be on the card. In addition, Schaefer said the card could be a split-site show with at least one televised bout coming from a location in Mexico.
"We want to make it a great, fun card," Schaefer said. "We're still discussing having fights on the pay-per-view from Mexico."
With the fight against Mosley worked out, Mora said he is withdrawing from a July 23 bout against J.C. Candelo, which was scheduled to headline Golden Boy's weekly "Solo Boxeo Tecate" series on Spanish-language Telefutura. Schaefer said bantamweight contender Abner Mares might move into the new main event.
"I got a call from [manager] Cameron Dunkin telling me the fight with Mosley is sealed and delivered, so it's just a business move," Mora said. "I've been cut in a lot of my fights. I really don't want to go in there and get a cut or get an injury and risk a big fight with Mosley at the Staples Center. This is definitely a fight I am looking forward to. I fought at Staples and 10,000 people came to see me. Shane fought there and it was filled up for his fight against Margarito. I think it will be a great night. With Shane Mosley, you can always rely on him to have speed and guts and a desire to win a fight and I have that too. I am willing to lay it all on the line and go out on my shield."
After winning "The Contender," Mora went on to win a junior middleweight belt from the late Vernon Forrest in 2008 before losing it to him in the rematch three months later. After the loss, Mora was idle for 18 months with various fights falling through. But he returned in April and looked sharp knocking out Calvin Green in the seventh round on the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones II undercard in Las Vegas. With that bout under his belt, Mora said he's not worried about rust.
"I went through three camps before the Green fight," Mora said. "It was a good comeback fight. I got hit, I got in some rounds and I got the stoppage. It was enough for September. I am really excited and motivated for the fight."
The Green fight came in the 160-pound middleweight division, where Mora, 29, moved after the loss to Forrest, saying he could no longer make the weight. He had struggled hard to make it for the rematch, but had only five weeks to get ready.
"I told Richard when I signed with Golden Boy that I was willing to fight at 154 pounds as long as I had 10 weeks to get ready," he said. "This is more than 10 weeks and I have already had six weeks of camp getting ready for Candelo. So I'll take a week or so off and then get back in camp. I'm bringing in my nutritionist, Robert Ferguson, and as long as he's on board and I have 10 weeks, I can make the weight and feel strong."
Mosley, who turns 39 on Sept. 7, is moving back up to junior middleweight, where he was champion after beating De La Hoya in their 2003 rematch. Mosley has shuttled between the 147- and 154-pound divisions for the past several years. He was dominated by Mayweather at welterweight.
Mora, however, said he is not looking at Mosley as an over-the-hill fighter based on that poor performance.
"Shane Mosley has been counted out too many times, so I am not going to count him out at all," Mora said. "I am not going to go by that performance at all."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.