UNCASVILLE, Connecticut (AFP) — Sergio Mora shocked Vernon Forrest Saturday, capturing Forrest's World Boxing Council super welterweight title with a majority decision.
Mora, the 27-year-old who won the first season of the America's reality television series "The Contender," which sought out promising boxers and had them battle for a championship chance, became the first graduate of the TV show to claim a world title.
Mora improved to 21-0-1, but it was a close run thing.
Two of the judges scored the bout in his favor, 115-113 and 116-112, while a third scored it even, 114-114.
Forrest, 37, fell to 40-3, with 29 wins inside the distance.
Los Angeles native Mora, younger than Forrest by a decade, outworked his opponent in the later stages to earn the decision.
"I just couldn't get off," Forrest said. "He has a herky-jerky style that threw me off. He fought a very good fight, a really technical fight, and he was the better man tonight."
Forrest dictated the first half of the fight, but appeared winded in the later rounds, allowing Mora to seize the momentum.
Mora used his jab to set up body shots, steadily gaining confidence.
"I came to win. I wasn't going to be denied," Mora said. "Once I got to the seventh round, I wasn't going to let him win another round."
Mora said he has plenty of room for improvement.
"I got a lot more in me," he said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg. No disrespect to Vernon, this was a C-plus (effort)."
Prior to the fight, Forrest had disparaged Mora, saying he made a laughable sparring partner.
"It was all business," Forrest said of the trash talk. "Nothing personal."
On the undercard, Paul Williams avenged the only defeat of his career in impressive style, regaining his World Boxing Organization welterweight title with a first-round technical knockout of Carlos Quintana.
After capturing the belt with a unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito on July 14, southpaw Williams (34-1, 25 KOs) had lost his first meeting with Puerto Rico's Quintana in similar fashion on February 9.
But Williams made the most of his second chance against Quintana, knocking him down with a flurry that culminated with a left hook to the head with just over a minute left in the opening round.
Quintana got to his feet, but Williams sent him down again with another left hook, and referee Eddie Claudio called a halt at 2:15 as Quintana's record fell to 25-2.
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