Sergio Mora wants to make one thing clear: He respects Daniel Jacobs as a world-class boxer. Respecting Jacobs as a person? Eh, that’s a different story.
“I’ve never doubted [Jacobs’ skills] inside the ring,” Mora says. “It’s outside the ring where I’ve questioned his maturity and his character.”
A former 154-pound champion, Sergio Mora remains irked by the way Daniel Jacobs has acted since the two fighters engaged in an exciting, but brief, title clash last summer that ended near the end of the second round when Mora broke his ankle on a ruled knockdown.
Jacobs, who traded first-round knockdowns with Mora, was declared the winner by technical knockout as he successfully defended his 160-pound title for a second time. But in the 13 months since, Mora believes Jacobs has failed to give him the credit he deserves.
Just this week, Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) referred to his September 9 rematch with Mora (28-4-2, 9 KOs) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT) as a “stay-busy fight” and a “step backward” for his career.
Jacobs also has talked as much about a potential title unification bout with fellow 160-pound champion Gennady Golovkin as he’s chatted about the rematch with Mora.
Those comments haven't sit well with “The Latin Snake.”
“If you remember everything leading up to our first encounter, it was all respect from both of us,” Mora says. “But with the way our fight ended, he showed me no respect. As a matter of fact, he just swept it under the rug, downgraded me and downplayed the fact that I dropped him and had him hurt, and that it was a good fight while it lasted. That’s not the way a champion should react.
“What he should’ve said is, ‘You know what? Right now, I’m going to move forward and try to get a bigger fight. But when he heals up, maybe we can talk.’ That would’ve been great. I wouldn’t have said anything. But he didn’t do that.”
“ What [Jacobs] continues to not understand is that I’m the most accomplished and one of the best fighters on his résumé. He’s not even top 3 on mine. ” Sergio Mora
Mora remains steadfast in his belief that his first meeting with Jacobs on August 1, 2015, in Brooklyn, New York, should’ve been ruled a no contest. He claims it wasn’t a punch that caused him to hit the canvas, but rather that his ankle gave out as he was bending down just as Jacobs landed a right hand to the back of his head.
The way Mora sees it, the fact he quickly got up—albeit standing on only one leg—proved he wasn’t hurt by a punch, and that the only reason he was unable to continue fighting was because he fractured his ankle.
That’s why over the past year the 35-year-old Southern California native has spent as much time pressing Jacobs for a rematch as he has rehabbing his injury. Jacobs—who followed up the Mora fight with a savage 85-second knockout of fellow Brooklyn resident and ex-champ Peter Quillin in December—finally acquiesced, but only after failing to line up fights against other opponents.
“I understand that [the first fight] left a bitter taste in certain people's mouths because of the way Sergio Mora lost. But in my opinion, he was on the verge anyway,” Jacobs says. “I don't think this [rematch] does anything for my career. Like I said before, we've always wanted to move up to bigger and better opposition each time out. This is kind of a step back.”
Says Mora: “That’s the way he continues to treat me, and that’s the way he continues to think about me. And that’s the reason I put him on his ass.”
Mora believes his fight history alone makes him a credible opponent for Jacobs, even if the champ is unwilling to admit it.
After winning the first season of the TV reality series The Contender (the taped finale aired in May 2005), Mora earned his world title with a 12-round majority decision over Vernon Forrest in June 2008, then lost it three months later by unanimous decision in a rematch. Two years later, he fought three-division world champion Shane Mosley to a split draw.
“What [Jacobs] continues to not understand is that I’m the most accomplished and one of the best fighters on his résumé. He’s not even top 3 on mine,” Mora says. “Look at the facts. Look at the people who we’ve fought. He’s only gone 12 rounds one time. I’ve gone 36 rounds with two Hall of Famers.
“So you’ve got to give me credit where credit is due. It's just a lack of character on his part for him not to do that, and that’s what upsets me.”
At the same time, though, Mora says such disrespect is nothing new. He claims Forrest and Mosley simply wanted to “get me out of the way” and move on to bigger fights, and he shined as an underdog against both legends.
“My career has been an underdog story. Nothing is going to change,” Mora says. “I know I’m going to end my career as an underdog. But I’m also going to end my career as a two-time world champion who has made a couple of million dollars, which is something a lot of professional fighters don’t get to do.”
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