Former Contender champ Sergio Mora stopped a shopworn Jose “Shibata” Flores Friday night in Indio, Calif. on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo Tecate.
The 30-year-old Mora won his first fight at middleweight since losing a February split decision to Brian Vera in typical fashion by sticking, moving and picking his spots. Mora appeared to take control in the middle rounds and backed Flores up against the ropes in the 7th, firing a series of hard hooks to Flores’ head and body. Flores responded with a late punch after the bell.
The 39-year-old Mexican avoided some of the damage but his corner still stopped the fight after the round. According to our four years of high school Spanish it sounded like Flores’ trainer said he was sad, but it’s time. Judging by how emotional Shibata was when he thanked sparring partner Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and TeleFutura for the opportunity, it would appear his days in the ring are over. Flores (45-12, 26 KOs) choked up during the post-fight interview after acknowledging his opponent’s accomplishments.
Despite earning his first win since last April Mora showed little to indicate he’s got much more than he showed in the close loss to Vera and his lackluster draw with Shane Mosley last year. The Latin Snake remains a slick technician with great ring awareness, but he’s simply not busy or aggressive enough to make noise at middleweight given his lack of real knockout power.
The early rounds saw Flores have some success by advancing and pushing Mora into the corner, where he unloaded some heavy combinations. But the younger man’s speed and defensive ability allowed him to stay out of danger and land his quick, snapping jab. By the 3rd Shibata’s left eye was marked and starting to swell; as the fight wore on he kept advancing but was unable to pull the trigger.
Mora responded by focusing his attack on the body, landing uppercuts with aplomb and mixing in a precise straight right hand. Shibata attempted to stand his ground in the 7th but his failure to throw the jab prevented him from disturbing the Angeleno. Mora looked barely to have broken a sweat when the fight was stopped before the 8th.
After the fight Mora (23-2-2, 7 KOs) called out middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, dismissing 160-pound beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as nothing more than an appetizer. Mora is skilled enough that he can hold his own with almost any middleweight, but it’s very difficult to see him going the distance with Maravilla. His lack of one-punch power and inability to sustain his attack leave him without much to trouble the Argentine superstar.
In bonus coverage junior middleweight prospect Hugo “The Boss” Centeno looked in control early against “The Fighting Chihuahua” Hector Orozco but the Minnesotan came back in the third to turn up the pressure and land some shots of his own. Centeno regained his footing in the 4th but ended up taking more damage than he probably expected against the game Orozco. Centeno (10-0, 6 KOs) secured the six-round decision 59-55 and 58-56 (twice), but the crowd clearly favored the Fighting Chihuahua.