Sergio Mora vs. Shibata Flores and other action
By Katherine Rodriguez
Former junior middleweight world champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora fights Shibata Flores in Indio and junior featherweight Efrain Esquivias opposes Leopoldo Gonzalez in Ontario on Friday night in Southern California.
It’s another busy Inland area night.
Former reality TV star Mora (22-2-2) resumes his quest for another world title bid and what better opponent than Flores (45-11, 26 KOs) who has his own championship designs. Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio will be the target area for their Golden Boy Promotions match on Friday Nov. 4.
“I’ve had the worst luck this year. I need to turn it around,” said Mora, 30, who formerly held the WBC junior middleweight title. “Shibata Flores has a lot of experience and he’s a southpaw so I can’t take him lightly.”
Mora is one of only two fighters who defeated the late great Vernon Forrest in a prizefight. In June 2008 Mora beat Forrest by decision to win the world title and join Nicaragua’s Ricardo Mayorga as the only boxers to beat the great Georgia fighter. Two months later Forrest won the rematch with Mora.
Forrest and Mora never had the rubber match to decide who was better. In July 2009, Forrest was shot and killed during a carjacking.
“He was a great fighter,” says Mora who was Forrest’s last opponent in the boxing ring. “I learned a lot from fighting Vernon.”
Flores knows a thing or two about fighting for a world title too. Back in September 2001 the native of Mexico was ranked number one as a junior middleweight and fought Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas. He also fought Verno Phillips before that fighter captured the world title. He retired from boxing after that fight but now returns eight years later.
“Those are eight years I was not taking punches my friend,” says Flores, who was tagged with the name “Shibata” because he resembles a former Japanese prizefighter named Kuniaki Shibata a featherweight contender from the 1960s. “I’ve been taking it very slowly. Now I’m going into another level.”
Now training in Big Bear, the Sonora native sparred with another Mexico star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and was able to ascertain where he fits in the boxing world’s stratosphere.
“Sergio Mora has a different technique and is very good. I saw his fights with Shane Mosley and Brian Vera,” said Flores, 39, who is trained by Abel Sanchez. “He has speed and movement. I have power. I think I can do something.”
Eighty miles west junior featherweights Esquivias (14-0, 9 KOs) and Mexico’s Gonzalez (11-4-1, 7 KOs) headline the fight card at the Doubletree Hotel in Thompson Boxing Promotions fight card.
Esquivias is a quick-fisted contender from Carson who utilizes his pinpoint accuracy to break down opponents. He’s trained by world famous boxing guru Freddie Roach.
Also on the card is Ontario’s Jonathan Arellano an undefeated junior featherweight, and Pennsylvania’s hard-hitting bantamweight Miguel Diaz.
Artemio Reyes Jr., a welterweight who fights under the Thompson Boxing Promotions banner, returned from Atlantic City with an impressive win over former Olympian Javier Molina.
“Before the fight Molina said I was not at his level," said a victorious Artemio Reyes (14-1, 11 KOs) after the bout. "We gave the fans what they came to see, a great fight. Molina showed a lot of guts but he couldn't put up with the pressure. I came to Atlantic City to get what I deserved: Respect.”
Molina (9-0, 4 KOs) entered the ring undefeated and fought valiantly for eight rounds against the pressure fighting Reyes. But all three judges awarded the decision to San Bernardino’s Reyes whose family in attendance numbered nearly two dozen.
“I did this for my family and all the people that came from home to support me, they are a rowdy bunch and I am sure I made my pops proud, this is for him,” said Reyes whose father Artemio Reyes Sr. has been in a coma for three years. “I am taking the gloves I wore tonight back home for him.”
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Sergio Mora (22-2-2) vs. Shibata Flores (45-11).
Sat. HBO, 7:15 p.m., Alfredo Angulo (20-1) vs. James Kirkland (29-1).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Lucian Bute (29-0) vs. Glen Johnson (51-15-2).