Contender producers in negotiations with ESPN
Just a little mention at the bottom of this article talking about Sergio's victory. Hope it works out.
Schurr grad Mora is $1 million man
Sergio Mora of Los Angeles will never have to shout, "I could have been a contender.' He is The Contender. Mora, in a spectacular performance Tuesday at Caesars Palace in the season finale of the NBC reality show, "The Contender,' won the championship with a unanimous seven-round decision over Peter Manfredo.
Mora's biggest payday had been $7,000. He won $1 million Tuesday.
Mora, 25, won by scores of 68-65, 69-64 and 70-63. This newspaper had Mora winning, 68-65. He improves his record to 16-0, and his bank account by a heck of a lot. After his victory, which came in front of 5,000 screaming people, Mora hugged his mother, Ines, who Mora said would quit working if he won the big money.
In the post-fight news conference, Mora took off his sunglasses to reveal a cut he suffered over his left eye that was still bleeding and had not yet been stitched. He wiped off the blood with a finger, then put the finger in his mouth and licked it clean.
He then talked about the ring conversation with his mother. "I broke down,' said Mora, a 1997 graduate of Schurr High School in Montebello. "I started thinking about all the struggles we had. Four boys in a one-bedroom apartment. Our dad left when I was young. Suddenly it hit me. One million dollars. I'm a 25-year-old man, but I broke down in my mom's arms.'
Although Mora was in the center of the ring plenty during the fight, he also fought extremely well off the ropes, landing sharp counterpunches as Manfredo tried to push the action. "I like fighting off the ropes,' Mora said.
Manfredo, of Providence, R.I., is 24-2. He will receive $250,000 as the runner-up. He said that with many movie stars and boxing celebrities in attendance, he got away from his game plan, which was to stick the jab in Mora's face.
"I wasn't listening to my corner the way I should have,' said Manfredo, 24, who tried to land bombs on Mora, but often missed. "I was supposed to work off the jab.'
Manfredo, however, thought he might have a chance at the decision. "I thought it could have gone either way,' Manfredo said. "But he was the better man. He is 'The Contender.' '
The two middleweights gave those in attendance everything they could ask for. They went toe-to-toe a good part of the fight, but Mora showed better defensive skills as he bobbed and weaved out of harm's way on many occasions. Bottom line, Mora was faster, stronger and smarter.
Mora was cut over the left eye in the first round, but it didn't bleed a lot until he got smacked with a hard shot to the head in the fifth round after he had taken a second to look over at Manfredo's corner and talk a little smack. But it didn't seem to matter. After the round ended, Mora stood near the ropes and posed while staring at Manfredo's cornermen. Referee Joe Cortez ushered Mora back to his corner.
The seventh and final round began with the fighters squaring off and attacking each other with abandon. But it was obvious that by that time, Manfredo was exhausted and Mora was still going strong. Mora, with his back near the ropes, peppered Manfredo with four-punch combinations. With about 15 seconds left in the fight, Manfredo held up his arms as if he thought he might be the winner. When he did, Mora got on him again and landed some punches to the head. Manfredo was jelly-legged and had the fight lasted another 30 seconds, he might have tasted the canvas.
There was a large contingent of supporters for both fighters, but Manfredo seemed to have a few more. However, when the lopsided scorecards were read, there were few complaints.
NBC recently announced that "The Contender' would not be picked up for a second season, but producer Mark Burnett said afterward that the show's producers are in negotiations with ESPN for a second season.
"This is too good not to continue,' Burnett said.
And Mora was too good for Manfredo.