Even after all the ups and downs, Mora's passion for boxing remains unwavering

Sergio Mora has experienced the exhilaration of winning a world championship, but he’s also been on the opposite end of that emotional spectrum during his 16-year professional career.

Daniel Jacobs and Sergio Mora

After an exchange of knockdowns in the first round of their first meeting, Sergio Mora (left) eagerly awaits Friday's rematch with 160-pound world champion Daniel Jacobs. (Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

After briefly possessing a 154-pound world title in 2008, Mora suffered through some uneven years in which he wondered if he would ever get another shot at the top.

Not only did the Los Angeles native get that opportunity last year, Sergio Mora now awaits a second chance to dethrone 160-pound world champion Daniel Jacobs when the fighters meet in a title rematch Friday night at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT).

“Boxing can be a cruel sport,” Mora said. “But my light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel attitude comes from being on top, miserable at the bottom and potentially back on top.”

Mora (28-4-2, 9 KOs) lost his first encounter with Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) by technical knockout in August 2015 when he was unable to continue after fracturing his right ankle on a second-round knockdown at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Jacobs and Mora exchanged knockdowns during a dramatic opening round before “The Latin Snake’s” leg buckled under him on the second-round knockdown, and he was taken from the arena on a stretcher. Mora lobbied the New York State Athletic Commission afterward to have the result changed from a TKO to a no contest, but was unsuccessful.

Following a lengthy war of words between the fighters, Mora is ready to settle what he sees as unfinished business against the “Miracle Man.”

“I was in control and winning the second round before the injury,” Mora said. “There are a lot of questions to be answered. I’m thankful for another chance to clear this up.”

Mora says his ankle is fine following months of rehab.

“Everything heals up slower with age, so there were times that I questioned it,” he said. “I worked on it, running downhill, stopping on a dime, pivoting, twisting, so I'm ready physically and mentally. I feel no pressure whatsoever.”

I was in control and winning the second round before the injury. There are a lot of questions to be answered. I’m thankful for another chance to clear this up. Sergio Mora, on his rematch with 160-pound world champion Daniel Jacobs

Rematches have figured heavily into the career of Mora, who has used his technical skills to overcome a lack of power in the ring.

Mora first came to national prominence in 2005 when he won Season 1 of NBC’s boxing reality show The Contender. He defeated Peter Manfredo Jr. by seven-round unanimous decision in the May 24 live finale, then took the eight-round rematch by split decision in October.

The acclaim gained from his TV success helped propel Mora into a title fight against 154-pound world champion Vernon Forrest in June 2008. The Latin Snake outboxed Forrest to earn a majority decision, but his reign as champion ended three months later when he lost the rematch by unanimous decision.

It was after a controversial 12-round split draw with former three-division champion Shane Mosley in September 2010 when things began to go bad for Mora, who was “dumped by my promoter and manager” after the bout.

“It was a boring fight. Fans, commentators and critics hated it,” Mora said. “The stigma made me a pariah. I nearly quit. It took years to climb out of the hole, but I said, ‘I’m not letting these [haters] run me out of boxing.’”

Mora’s career reached its nadir when he lost twice to journeyman Brian Vera, who earned a close 10-round split decision in February 2011 before taking the 12-round rematch by majority decision in August 2012.

Mora clawed his way back to respectability with five wins over the next three years, starting with a unanimous decision over former title challenger Grzegorz Proksa in June 2013 and concluding with a split decision over Abraham Han in February 2015.

That last victory landed Mora his first shot against Jacobs, who floored the challenger before being knocked down himself in the first two minutes of the bout.

“Sergio needed to change his style a little bit, be more exciting and matched well against credible guys,” said Lou DiBella, who promoted the first Jacobs-Mora fight. “Sergio got a streak going and became relevant again. The old Mora would not have knocked down Jacobs after going down himself.

“Sergio deserves this rematch. He was a live dog the first time he fought Jacobs, he’s a live dog on Friday, and he’s a live dog in any fight.”

Mora realizes that his rematch with Jacobs, who defended his crown in December with an 85-second stoppage of previously unbeaten Peter Quillin, could be his last chance to reach the top.

But even after all the ups and downs that have come in his roller-coaster career, the Southern California native has never lost his perpetual zest for the fight game.

“I’m 35 years old. I’ve had three rematches. This will be my fourth,” Mora said. “It’s any boxer’s dream to have an opportunity to be seen on television, make good money and fight for another world title. How can this not be the thrill of a lifetime for me?”

For a complete overview of the Jacobs vs Mora rematch, visit our fight page.

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