Former "Contender" stars took to the ring at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and left the building with mixed results.
Popular season one alum Alfonso Gomez won a tough unanimous decision over former world title challenger Ben Tackie, with scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93. My card had it a 95-95 draw, the same as I scored the night's televised opener. But Gomez-Tackie was a fight I could've seen going either way, with a lot of close rounds.
Gomez is still lobbying for a fight against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who will take on Ray Sanchez on a December 1 Top Rank pay-per-view. Gomez is a hard-working, tough pro, but despite gaining fame from "The Contender" and his retiring of a totally spent Arturo Gatti, he would be a massive underdog against Junior Chavez.
Season one winner Sergio Mora returned to the ring flat after a 14-month layoff that saw him turn down a fight with Jermain Taylor and have one against Kassim Ouma cancelled, fighting to a controversial draw against Elvin Ayala. Mora looked better as the fight wore on, but Ayala dominated the early going with a busy attack that served to neutralize the slicker, more accomplished Mora.
I had this fight, too, a 95-95 draw. That was also the score on one of the official cards. One was 96-94 for Ayala, and the other (Dave Mendoza's) was a downright absurd 99-91 for Mora, fighting on his home turf in California.
Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore both heavily questioned the Mora-favoring card because of the moronic score, and I feel the same way. This is one of the more blatant instances of fighter favoritism. Mora is the guy who came in in line to make more money, he was fighting close to home, and he was supposed to win. He may have done enough to score a close decision win, and I could see that. But 99-91? No one at all qualified could have seen Sergio Mora win nine of ten rounds in this fight.
After the decision was announced, Mora took off his robe and stormed away like a coddled, spoiled child who hasn't ever had to overcome any real adversity in his professional life. He came in thinking he was going to beat Ayala and then sign on to face Kelly Pavlik for the middleweight title. When the draw was announced, that blew up all plans, and now it means Sergio Mora might actually have to beat someone to get a world title shot.
How awful for him.
Congrats to Alfonso Gomez for keeping his career roll going, and thank you to Elvin Ayala for putting Sergio Mora into a position where he might have to earn an ascent into contention.
Quick News: Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba has withdrawn from this weekend's fight with John Duddy in Ireland due to a detached retina. Duddy will fight on, facing Prince Arron (10-2, 19 years old). Chalk up another unprepared fighter to fall to Duddy, the second replacement opponent he's had for the October 20th date.