On Friday, Feb. 6, DiBella Entertainment and Goossen Promotions will present an exciting edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights when IBF middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (33-4-1, 20KO’s) puts his IBF middleweight championship crown on the line against former junior middleweight champion and “The Contender: Season One” winner Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora (27-3-2, 9KO’s). The 12-round championship bout is set take place at MGM Resorts International’s beautiful Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, in Biloxi, Miss. It will be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
“This is a highly competitive fight and a very important one for the 160lb. division,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a huge opportunity for both Jermain and Sergio and it is a fight that nearly happened many years ago. Now both of their careers have come full circle and we anticipate a very exciting ‘must-win’ fight between two of the best middleweights in the world on Feb. 6.”
“I’m honored to work with my good friend Lou DiBella on this highly anticipated IBF middleweight championship between Jermain Taylor and Sergio Mora on Feb. 6, telecast live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights,” said Tom Brown of Goossen Promotions.
“Jermain Taylor’s world title fight in October against Sam Soliman was the second highest-rated fight of the year on ESPN2,” said Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions. “We expect similar results in what promises to be an even more action-packed fight against Sergio Mora.”
“MGM Resorts International and Beau Rivage are pleased to host this middleweight championship bout and have Taylor defend his title in the same great venue where he earned it back just a few short months ago,” said George P. Corchis, Jr., President and COO of MGM Resorts International’s Southern Operations. “We look forward to putting on another world-class televised event and showcasing a great fight.”
Seven years after losing his middleweight crown to Kelly Pavlik, Jermain Taylor regained the IBF title on Oct. 8 of last year defeating veteran Australian belt-holder Sam Soliman via unanimous decision. Over the course of 12 rounds, held at Beau Rivage, Taylor dictated the pace with a thudding and consistent jab. Using that punch to set up his power shots, Taylor went on to knock down Soliman a total of four times in the most impressive victory of his comeback thus far that began in 2011 following a two-year layoff.
It was in 2005 that Taylor upset Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins to become the undisputed middleweight champion. Taylor made four successful defenses of his belts, before moving up to the super middleweight division and later briefly retiring following back-to-back losses. Taylor returned to the ring in December of 2011, and put together four impressive victories to earn his shot at Soliman. Now with a championship belt back firmly around his waist, Taylor is ready to begin his second reign as middleweight champion of the world when he takes on the former champion Mora.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Beau Rivage in Biloxi to defend my IBF middleweight world title,” said Jermain Taylor. “Regaining the belt meant everything to me and I will be 100 percent focused in training camp to retain my championship. On February 6, boxing fans will be in for a real exciting night of action when I defeat the Latin Snake, Sergio Mora.”
Sergio Mora, now rated No. 13 by the IBF, was originally supposed to face Taylor for his unified middleweight crown back in 2007, but the fight never materialized. However, after some months of inactivity and frustration, Mora finally received his first world title shot in June 2008, going down in weight to challenge WBC 154lb. champion Vernon Forrest. Using his unorthodox style, Mora was able to outbox and outpoint Forrest over 12 rounds to seize the championship. Moving back up to middleweight, a fight with then-champion Pavlik in 2009 fell through when Pavlik pulled out for medical reasons. Following that disappointment, Mora endured a couple controversial decision defeats, as well as a draw with Shane Mosley.
Starting in 2013, Mora regrouped and signed with promoter DiBella Entertainment, and has since put together four straight victories. In June 2013, Mora dominated the 29-2 former world title challenger Grzegorz Proksa on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights en route to earning a unanimous decision. He then reeled off consecutive fifth-round knockouts over another world title challenger in Milton Nunez and the 14-1 prospect Samuel Rogers. In both of those contests, Mora employed a more aggressive approach than he had earlier in his career, looking to focus more on his power and entertaining the audience. He ended 2014 with a shutout win over the always-game Dashon Johnson in December. Now that his career has come full circle, nearly eight years after he initially turned down the chance to face Taylor, Mora, at 34 years old, has the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I’m a firm believer in destiny,” said Mora. “My trainer Dean Campos instilled that in me early in my career. The fight is happening now for a reason. I wasn’t ready to fight Taylor then [in 2007]. I’m more than ready now. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in destiny.”