Saturday night on Showtime, starting at 9:30 p.m. EDT (prelim bouts at 7 p.m. EDT on Showtime Extreme), Anselmo Moreno will meet David
Bantamweights, 12 Rounds (WBA Title)
Anselmo Moreno vs David De La Mora
To me, this is the real fight to see on Saturday night, even though it's hard to argue one as better than the other from a standpoint of competitive balance. Both Moreno and Abner Mares are heavily favored to win their fights on Saturday, but Moreno's could tell us more about a guy who might be even better than already imagined.
Moreno (32-1-1, 11 KO) is slick, slippery, and smart in the ring. He's fast, a good counter puncher, targets the body well, and mixes things up. He made Vic Darchinyan look like a pure also-ran, and while Vic has never really been great as a bantamweight and is definitely on the downside of his career, he's still a quality fighter that Moreno simply dominated.
Moreno Looking to Take Top Spot | Mares: Life Outside the Ring | Final Press Conference
De La Mora (24-1, 17 KO) is still something of an unknown quantity, but he's the underdog for a reason. The 23-year-old Mexican had never faced a real contender prior to getting what figured to be an undeserved title shot at WBA "regular" titlist Koki Kameda last August (Moreno holds the "super" title), but he acquitted himself pretty well against the Japanese star on the road, losing a decision by scores of 114-113, 115-113, and 115-112.
As our own Sidney Boquiren said, De La Mora showed flashes in the fight, but much of the bout's closeness was due to a predictable Kameda:
Untested challenger David de la Mora proved to be a solid pugilist that boxed beautifully in spots, and he certainly should be credited for putting up a good fight.
However, Kameda’s poor showing was less a result of the intrepid Mexican’s pressure than the titleholder being stuck in one gear for the majority of the 36 minutes. Kameda seems to have hit a wall in terms of technique, focusing mainly on countering with his left hand after de la Mora unloaded and relying on his lead left far too much.
After that fight, Kameda expressed disappointment in his own performance, but De La Mora had shown he wasn't terribly out of his league (to say the least) against a top 10 bantmweight. Though Kameda got the close scores at home, and De La Mora showed plenty of flaws of his own (for all his aggression, he's not a very accurate puncher), the Mexican can't be completely counted out on Saturday. The last time he was thought to be a pushover, he gave Kameda a strong shove back.
That said, Moreno is the heavy favorite for a key reason: He's a good bit better than Kameda, who has started to look quite ordinary -- "solid," as Floyd Mayweather might say, or really, since Mayweather calls Miguel Cotto "solid," he might just think Kameda isn't any good.
Moreno's only real weakness is punching power. He doesn't have much, but with his advantages in pure skill in this fight, that shouldn't be a big problem for him. De La Mora very well might be a promising young fighter, and a second loss on his sheet to Moreno on Saturday shouldn't be a dismissal of him. This might be a guy who can win a couple titles along the way as he matures and improves.
But he's going to have to be a damn sight better than he was against Kameda if he's going to upset Moreno. That's not impossible, and he does have experience against a top-flight southpaw, which should lessen the worry about that being an overwhelming issue for him, but my instinct is to say that Moreno is just too good for him. Moreno via wide unanimous decision.