Dave Itskowich: Thank you everybody for joining us today. As you probably know, Mora Forest II, the co-featured to Joel Casamayor versus Marquez which is the World Lightweight Championship which will be taking place at the MGM Grand on September 13th, Mexican Independence Day weekend. That fight is presented by Golden Boy in association with Romanza Boxing and the entire event is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Cazadores Tequila and Southwest Airlines. The telecast is going to begin at 9:00 pm Eastern time, 6:00 pm Pacific time, has a suggested retail price of $44.95..
Tickets are still available for the event, reasonably priced starting at $75.00 and it’s going to be a great night of boxing top to bottom. We’ve got a very good show. We’re going to be, you know, announcing more about the under card of the event later in the week.
Mora Forrest II is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Tournament of Contenders, Gary Shaw Productions, and Fight Night LLC. This is going to be a great fight. It’s a rematch of a fight that happened earlier this year. I’ll let the – our co-promoters and the fighters speak more about that, but just a little more on the event in general.
You’re getting two bona fide world championship fights on this show, two fights were I think the outcome is really in doubt. I think their, camps are split as to who’s going to win. Each one of these two fights, everyone has their own opinions and that’s what makes for great fights. That’s what makes for compelling fights. And that’s what makes for people tuning into fights. And I think that these are two fights that are important for the sport of boxing. And as I said, the outcomes are in doubt in both, so they’re what I would consider to be, you know, must see TV, fights that should definitely be watched by boxing fans all over the country.
The, again, suggested retail price is $44.95. Broadcast begins 9:00 pm Eastern time, 6:00 pm Pacific. Tickets are still available starting at $75. So without any further ado, I guess I’d like to turn it over to one of our co-promoters for the event, the promoter of Sergio Mora who is the WBC super welterweight champion of the world, to say a little bit about the fight from his perspective and a little bit about Sergio-Jeff Wald.
Jeff Wald: Thank you very much Dave. I really like the catchy thing about must see TV that you made up. Anyway, all kidding aside, you know, this is about our sixth event that we’ve done in conjunction with Golden Boy with Dave and (Richard) and (Oscar), and we’re real pleased to be doing this again.
I think it’s a great event to be doing on Mexican Independence Day. You know, it’s a big holiday and there’ll be a huge turn out in Las Vegas. You know, we were very grateful to Forrest and to (Gary) and the whole team for giving us the opportunity for Sergio to fight for a world championship.
The last fight was a fight with a decision. We fully expect Forrest to be differently prepared and up for this fight. I think he might’ve underestimated Sergio last time. By the same token, Sergio is a very smart fighter and very aware that Forrest is going to be much for focused, you know, for this fight and Sergio is prepared accordingly.
Sergio’s a very disciplined guy, terrific boxer as Forrest found out. And I think what Dave said is right. Of course, I don’t agree about the outcome. I feel strongly that Sergio is going to win again, but by the same token, I think this is going to be a very intriguing, good fight. Both guys are going to bring it.
In Forrest, you’ve got a future Hall of Famer, a guy with a terrific record and a terrific fighter. And in Sergio you’ve got a young man who’s undefeated and also with a terrific recorded. So I think you’re going to see a terrific boxing match. This is what boxing’s all about – two guys who really want it, a little older guy and a younger guy who won the belt. We’re excited to be part of this event. Sergio.
Sergio Mora: I am expecting a different fight from Vernon, even though the first one he was very cagey and obviously he’s a veteran and a Hall of Famer. I still have a lot of respect for him.
This time around, I expect him to be more focused, and obviously we know each other a little bit better so he knows what to expect of me and I certainly know what to expect of him. So with comfort comes, a more exciting fight because we’re willing to take more chances on both sides.
I know he thinks he can do more and I certainly feel I can do more as well. So with that said, like I said, comfort shows a good fight. So I’m expecting a really good fight. He keeps repeating – Forrest keeps saying that time lasts the distance and for some reason I feel that in my bones as well. I don’t think it is. And I never say that. So I’m looking forward to a very exciting fight on an exciting weekend on a very exciting card and obviously the creme de la creme, (on) HBO. So that’s what I’ve got to say.
Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News: There were some camp notes sent out last week from your trainers and I just wanted to get your reaction on one comment from (Buddy McGirt). He said that there’s nothing worse that can happen to a fighter than to lose to somebody he should’ve never lost to in the first place. It sounds to me like he didn’t really think much of you then and maybe still doesnt. What’s your reaction to that kind of a comment by (Buddy McGirt)?
Sergio Mora: Well if that’s what they feel, then that’s what they feel. I’ve got to respect whatever comes out of their mouth because (Buddy McGirt) is obviously a well respected trainer and Vernon Forrest is obviously Vernon Forrest. So whatever they think and whatever they feel, I have to, at least acknowledge.
All I’ve got to do is do my part as a young undefeated champion and that’s defend the championship. It’s taken me a long time to get here and I plan on staying here. And I’ve just got to work hard and focus and not get carried away with the emotion of the fight, with how big it is and certainly not get carried away with that shiny belt. Just bottom line, be myself and go out there and be prepared for anything and adapt to anything.
Eddie Goldman, Seconds Out Radio. Now, at what point during the first fight, or was it before the first fight, did you know that you were going to win? Because everybody knows that Vernon was the big favorite. Few people gave you a chance. At what point did you say, “I have this?”
Sergio Mora: I was very confident before the fight. The reason I started off slow is because I didn’t get a chance to warm up due to the first round knockout and also due to the fact that (Al Mitchell), Vernon Forrest’s trainer, made me cut off my hand wraps after they were already done. So both those things made me not warm up. And I started pretty slow the first three, four rounds.
But after I warmed up, I knew I had the fight. I tasted a little bit of Vernon’s power and his timing and feet and once I adapted to that style, I would say by the fifth round, I knew that I can pick it up when I want and I can slow it down when I want. And yes, I felt very comfortable.
Eddie Goldman: Now, if it’s expected that he underestimated you and he’s going to do something differently this time, how are you going to account to that knowing he’s going to try fight differently, perhaps more aggressively?
Sergio Mora: Well I – like I said after the fight, I didn’t really give it all I had either, so you know, there are tricks up my sleeve as well and there are tactics that I didn’t really implement in the first fight like I had planned. So hopefully, this time around I get to do exactly what I wanted to do the first time.
Eddie Goldman: Where do you see him at because he had his peak as a fighter a number of years ago and then, of course, he had the injuries and he came back and people thought well maybe he’s pretty much where he was at his peak when he beat Mosley those times? Where do you think he’s at in terms of his career?
Sergio Mora: Well, we’re going to find out. You know, a great fighter always has a great fight in him left, and I really don’t think he’s to that point yet. You know, he’s very cagey. He knows a lot of – I learned a lot in that fight. I learned a lot of little dirty tactics. I learned a lot of little good tactics and he’s one of those guys that knows a lot of things because he’s been in the game a long time.
So I don’t really think he’s at his end. Certainly he’s not at his prime. But we’re going to find out. We’re going to find out with his strategy and how hungry he is and his physique and I guess we’re all going to find out together.
Chris Cozzoni, fightnews.com. Now you’ve been mentioned or named as a possible for Oscar De La Hoya in December. Does that do anything to your concentration for this fight, or if not your concentration, your motivation?
Sergio Mora: You know what? That’s a great question. I would love to say that it doesn’t – that I’m not concentrating or focusing in it, but it would be a lie. I mean, that – any time, Oscar De La Hoya looks your direction, obviously you’re going to pay attention. But I know as a good fighter and a young fighter that I can’t get carried away with thinking that way because I’ve done that twice in my career already. I’ve done it once with (Elvin Ayala). I looked over him.
And then I did it again early in my career where I looked past an opponent. He was one of the hardest punches I faced. So as a young man, I’m pretty experienced I would say. I’m not really paying attention to Oscar De La Hoya. It could be a business ploy. He could be using, my name as a pawn for his negotiations with, Pacquiao or whoever.
I’ve got to take care of my business. I know right now I’ve got a commitment with Vernon Forrest and that’s all I’m concentrating on.
Chris Cozzoni: And one more question. Do you think you finally got the recognition that you’ve been looking for your entire career now with the first fight beating Forrest?
Sergio Mora: You know what? Whether I got it or not, I got that confirmation and I feel damned pleased and proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished and my opinion means a whole lot more then my critics. But if I do – if I still have a lot of critics that I need to change, that’s fine because that’s going to keep me motivated. But I’m very pleased with my career and what I’ve accomplished. And God has blessed me and I thank God for that.
Doug Fisher, Max Boxing.com. his question’s for you or Jeff Wald or whoever knows it. Have there been odds posted on this rematch with Vernon Forrest.
Jeff Wald: I don’t know what the odds are but I do know this, that of all the writers, you’re the only one who picked Sergio to win last time.
So if I were you, I’d press up my bet because you got it right the first time. But no, the odds were great last time and I can say that a lot of Sergio’s friends went home a lot happier then when they left for the fight, a lot richer.
Sergio Mora: I can answer that question a little bit more. My brothers love gambling. I think the odds are even.
Doug Ficher: Yes, okay so it’s even money. I mean, the official odds…
Sergio Mora: I think it’s even money or there’s a slight favor in either direction.
Doug Ficher: Now when I talk to my peers among the media, most of them picked Vernon to beat you the first time. They’re picking Vernon to beat you the second time around. Does that bother you at all?
Sergio Mora: No, it’s motivation Doug. That’s something that’s always motivated me. Whenever I’m the favorite I actually feel the burden a little bit, so I hope from now until the end of my career I’m the underdog.
Jeff Wald: Doug, If you picked him the first time, you have no fears. I know everybody loves to hear that, right?
Doug Ficher: I’m really familiar with Sergio and I think a lot of people, all they knew about Sergio was from watching the first season of the Contender, and, they don’t see how hard he works or who he’s sparring with in the gym on a day to day basis. And in that vein, Sergio, is there anything different as far as your preparation, as far as your training for this fight then you did going into the first fight?
Sergio Mora: Preparation – everything’s exactly the same. I want to try to do exactly the same regimen, you know, and try to peak at the same time. About the only thing that I’m doing different is the fact that this is probably one of the fastest fights – aside from the Contender, which was, like, every week – that I’m going to be, fighting again, which is like three months.
And, I was at my best in the Contender as far as like sharpness and, I’ve been through periods where I’ve had lay up as 13 months and I’ve had lay offs up to a week. So I usually am a lot more comfortable with fighting right away. So I think…
Doug Ficher: Like a quick turnaround?
Sergio Mora: Real quick, and it’s going to show in my performance because I’m going to get started a lot faster.
Doug Ficher: Okay guys. Thanks a lot.
Diego Martinez, Reforma Newspaper. (SPANISH SPOKEN)
Jeff Wald: Sergio, can you just give us a real brief translation of what that…
Sergio Mora: Yes, he asked me about Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and whether I’d consider fighting him. I said, yes I would love to but he’s not maturing as fast a fighter as most fighters should at 36 fights.
You know, I understand that they’re taking care of him but I think they’ve pampered him a little bit too much because, you know, his last couple performances either because he’s not maturing or because he just needs pampered, but even in his hometown, they’re not liking what they’re doing with his career. So he needs to mature and get tougher fights in order for him to advance.
TK Stewart, Boxing Scene.com. It’s often been said that when a fighter wins a title he becomes a 25% improved fighter. Do you feel like a better fighter or a different fighter since you won the belt?
Sergio Mora: I’ll be honest with you. I feel, for some reason, stronger. I don’t know – not more confident. I’m pretty confident, a young man here, but stronger for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because I’m hitting my peak or just, – like you said, it’s in the head.
But I feel stronger as a fighter. I’ve been hurting my sparring partners and maybe that – it’s just the fact that, it’s the world title. It’s somewhat of a placebo effect there, maybe.
TK Stewart: All right great. And then now how about your weight? Because fighting at 154, there was somewhat of a hard the first time around. But how do you feel now?
Sergio Mora: Well, I was very stressed out about it. I’d never in my life fought under 157 as a professional and I was very, very nervous about making that weight.
Thank God with the help of (Robert Ferguson) and hard work, I was able to make it pretty easily. I never really, I guess, sacrificed my body that much but I felt strong and I felt good. So this time around, I’m a little more comfortable knowing that I can make it and my body will allow me. So a lot less stress this time around.
William Trillo, Pound4Pound.com. Vernon talked an inordinate amount of trash before the last fight. In fact, probably more then I ever remember him talking. Then after the fight, we get he underestimated you, he over trained, he under trained. What do you think the truth is behind all that and what do you think is going to be different in regards to that this time?
Sergio Mora: Well as far as him underestimating me, maybe that could’ve happened but I really don’t believe him when he says that because we did spar before and he says he got the best of me, but we had a very competitive sparring session. So that should’ve, alleviated those thoughts, the fact that we did, exchange punches for five, six rounds before.
The second time that he trained too long, I can believe that because that can happen or it could happen, but if he did over train, then why did he come overweight? That’s also the perspective, you over train, you’re supposed to be on weight at least or under weight.
So regardless of what excuses he has, whatever makes the person feel better, especially a fighter, they need to rationalize with themselves. So those are the two things that he’s going to (pretend) feeling and I expect him to be a better fighter this time around.
William Trillo: Right, regardless, you expect him to be a better fighter, but at the same time, Sergio, no question about it, you trained as hard for that fight if not harder then any, and I have to believe you’re doing it this time. So it’s a little bit of a slap in the face, if you will, for him to – to me, to act like he did and then not train for you. And I know you’re aware of Vernon’s tricks inside the ring and that and you’ll be ready for whatever he has this time.
Sergio Mora: But that just doesn’t go back to character. The first time around, it was uncharacteristic of him to say the things that he said. This time around he’s saying more, about it but he’s still not giving me the respect that I think I deserve especially after beating him.
But with that said, it just goes back to character. I just think that it’s in him to have to say those things to give himself confidence. And if that works, then that’s what he needs to do but it just doesn’t – it’s not a likeable quality in the media and to people. So I think that’s what rubs people off the wrong way.
Raymundo Dioses, 411Media.com. I don’t feel so bad bringing up the De La Hoya issue because it’s already been brought up. So how would you feel if you got a call from Golden Boy today and they told you if you did win against Vernon Forrest that they want to fight you next?
Sergio Mora: Well, I would feel great about it but I would tell him that I really don’t to discuss it or I’d really think twice about it, to show up to my fight and we’ll see how things work and how destiny is planned and I would love to take that fight if things go the way they should.
Raymundo Dioses: Going into the first fight you were the underdog and going into the second fight even though you’re the champion, it still feels like you’re the underdog. So how would you assess – how would you sum up your career from the outside in, in what you’ve already accomplished?
Sergio Mora: Well, I’ve definitely been through a lot in a short time. I started boxing pretty late as a 16 year old. And I’ve always had to catch up, I’ve always fought advanced fighters and fighters with a lot more experience. I’ve fought bigger guys that are younger and smaller weight. So I’ve always had to prove myself and I think that’s what makes me a tougher fighter.
Now that I’m a professional world champion, I think people still are not familiar with me because they think maybe that, it came too easy, or there’re always excuses, not only with the fighters and the people – and the promoters but with skeptics and critics. So, there’s always going to be someone and people out there trying to convince me otherwise.
So I’ve just got to continue staying undefeated and working hard and believing in myself and my team believing in me and not slipping, not getting caught slipping because that can happen very easily in this sport. And once it happens once, the second time’s going to be easier.
So I’ve just got to keep little by little changing people’s minds like I did the first fight. And if I can, put a stamp on the second fight then maybe I can eliminate some more criticism. But there’s always going to be people, with negativity, always.
Jeff Wald: I think the underdog role that Sergio’s right is a great role to play.
It puts less pressure on a guy, when guys do the criticism who are not in a ring but basically, Sergio’s probably the most disciplined, smartest fighter I’ve ever been around. And brains have a lot to do with the fight, and his attitude and the way he conducts himself.
I just want to mention one last thing, we’ve done – as tournament contenders – we’ve done a bunch of fights with Golden Boy. We’ve got a great relationship with Golden Boy, with (Gary), with a lot of promoters out there and obviously, getting to fight Oscar is the gold ring on the merry-go-round.
But I know Sergio is concentrating strictly on this fight and is not taking it for granted, doesn’t think Forrest is easy, giving Forrest the respect, and I believe that underneath Forrest’s dialogue he’s got a lot of respect for Sergio because the one time he did show it was right after the fight in the ring. He showed that respect.
The afterthought about why he lost and whatever Sergio said, may be to make him feel better. But I don’t think he’s taking him for granted regardless of what he says.
Raymundo Dioses: Okay Sergio, regarding your Contender days, how do you feel being the first Contender participant to win a world title and do you still talk to the other Contender fighters and do you feel like you motivate them?
Sergio Mora: I hope so and I’m glad, you know, the Contender got picked up for another season because it’s a great shows and it opened a lot of doors for me. It definitely changed my life not only in but – in the ring – but outside the ring.
So – and I’m glad that there’s another season and more doors opening for more fighters. And since I’m the very first Contender champion and now the very first world champion, I hope people can realize that, the whole premise of a show is to do that.
And now, I put that dream to fruition. So I’m very excited about the show, very excited to be represented, by Jeff Wald and I’m glad to be the face of it. So I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve got to do and work hard and hopefully, God bless us, all of us, and continue being successful.
Jeff Wald: You’re going to see a lot of the Contender fighters at Sergio’s fight. These guys really do support each other. And I can tell you from speaking to them, they’re thrilled with Sergio and thrilled that he’s winning and they root for him. And that includes (Matt Fredo) and everybody else.
Javier Molina, Mundo Espanol. Sergio, I want to ask you, how do you feel about defending your title on Mexican Independence Day in Las Vegas?
Sergio Mora: Oh, a dream come true. Not only that, defending a title is like the – obviously the pinnacle of that question, but defending it especially on Mexican Independence Day on HBO, versus a Hall of Famer, I mean, that’s like a storybook. And for me to go out there as the world champion is just unbelievable.
And it’s going to be a moment I definitely want to soak up, take advantage of and just have a great night. And I’m already focused on that and focused on the whole environment and the atmosphere. I’ve been to a lot of fights on Cinco De Mayo and on September weekend with Oscar fights, and it doesn’t get bigger and better then that. I’m just very thrilled and excited to be a part of it as a world champion. It’s a dream come true.
Javier Molina: Now Sergio, you fought a rematch before with Peter Manfredo. What have you learned from fighting rematches now that you’re facing a rematch again with Vernon Forrest?
Sergio Mora: Yes, I mentioned that earlier that I’ve been in that position of being in an awkward situation as far as not being motivated the second time around and taking someone lighter. You know, I did that with (Peter) and there’s no way I’m going to do it with a world champion Hall of Famer. So, you know, as soon as that fight was over I knew that we had a rematch clause and I knew that it was going to be right away.
So, I stayed in the gym and I stayed focused and I really didn’t get too carried away with being champion and letting it go to my head and soak in. Right now I’m still going in there as the underdog and that’s the way I want to stay – that’s the frame of mind I want to stay in because I’ve got to put a stamp on the sight. I’ve got to win and I’ve got to win big especially on this weekend.
Mora-Forrest II is the 12-round co-featured bout to the highly anticipated Joel Casamayor vs. Juan Manuel Marquez showdown. The fight is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Tournament of Contenders, Gary Shaw Productions and Fight Knight, LLC. Casamayor vs. Marquez – “The Challenge”, a 12-round bout for Casamayor’s Ring Magazine World Lightweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Romanza Boxing and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, Cazadores Tequila and Southwest Airlines. The world title bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.