Boxing: Can Sergio Mora Advance From Contender to Champion?

Todd ParmeleeSenior Analyst IJune 7, 2008

It is time for Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora to stop being The Contender and become a champion.  Tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Mora will get his chance vs. reigning WBC Super Welterweight Champion Vernon "The Viper" Forrest (40-2-0). 

Mora has an unblemished record at 20-0-1 with 5 wins coming by the way of knockout, but Mora has heard criticism of being just a pretender in the boxing world for reportedly dodging fights against top tier opponents like middleweight Jermain Taylor. 

Many experts think the fight will go the distance, with Forrest holding on to the title via decision.

Forrest believes he is overlooked in the boxing world and has a chip on his shoulder.  Forrest was once on the rise in 2002 after he defeated Shane Mosely two times.  But in 2003, he ran into Nicaraguan Ricardo Mayorga, losing two times. 

Forrest then missed two years of boxing as he recovered from shoulder surgeries.  Since returning to boxing, he has won his last five fights. 

After defeating Carlos Baldomir last July to win the WBC Super Welterweight title, Forrest has successfully defended his title once against Michele Piccirillo on Dec. 1.

Forrest believed after fighting Piccirillo he would be matched up against a top-tier Super Welterweight like Oscar De La Hoya, but he did not receive his wish. 

Mora usually fights as a middleweight, but dropped down weight to take on Forrest.

Mora has the pressure of the The Contender series on his shoulders, as many of the competitors from The Contender have struggled in big fights (Peter Manfredo, Alfonso Gomez and Steve Forbes).

"For Sergio, it's do or die," boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard said on  "It's a fight to determine his last hurrah."

"I'm ready. This is a big fight for me, not just a paycheck," Mora said on "I've never been this ready in my life, and this is not just an opportunity for fight for a title, because if that was the case I would have taken on Jermain Taylor."

Tonight, will Mora just be another Contender or a champion?