Doug Fischer

Mora stops Flores, calls out Martinez

Sergio Mora has another shot at a major world title in his sights after an easy seventh-round stoppage of former title challenger Jose “Shibata” Flores in a Solo Boxeo Tecate main event in Indio, Calif., on Friday night.

Mora (23-2-2, 7 knockouts) started off slowly, but began battering Flores (45-12-0, 26 KOs) from about the fifth round on. Flores, a 39-year-old southpaw, had good moments in the early rounds, when he cornered the quicker, slicker Mora and landed right hooks to the body.

But Mora, clearly the better boxer, displayed good defense throughout the fight, never sustaining much damage even during the most intense moments. The 30-year-old East Los Angeles native landed jabs and straight right hands consistently throughout the fight, and began landing uppercuts and body punches as the fight wore on. Mora also switched southpaw frequently during the fight, which seemed to confuse Flores.

The fight became more and more lopsided, and at the end of the seventh, Mora put Flores on the ropes and pounded away with shots to the side of the head and hooks to the body. Referee Lou Moret looked as if he was about to stop it when the bell rang.

Moret followed through after the end of the seventh, awarding the TKO to Mora.

Mora, who beat the late Vernon Forrest for a 154-pound belt in 2008, now hopes to challenge THE RING middleweight champion, Sergio Martinez, although the odds are stacked against him – he is coming off of a dismal performance against Shane Mosley and a loss to Brian Vera. An easy victory over a jounrneyman such as Flores, who is best known for being knocked out by Fernando Vargas in 2001, is unlikely to turn heads.

On the undercard, Hugo Centeno, a lanky 20-year-old super welterweight out of Oxnard, Calif., ran his record to 10-0 (6 KOs) with a unanimous decision victory over Hector Orozco (4-8).

Centeno’s superior hand-speed and six-inch reach advantage kept Orozco, a 23-year-old hailing from Minnesota, at bay for most of the fight. Things got dicey in the third round, when Orozco began landing looping left hands that put Centeno on the defensive. Centeno began bleeding from the nose after an accidental headbutt, prompting him to step on the gas in rounds four, five, and six. Orozco tried gamely to get inside, but was peppered with jabs, right hands, and uppercuts.

Judges scored the fight unanimously in favor of Centeno, with two scores of 58-56 and one score of 59-55. 

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