By: Sean Crose
“Kovalev looks relaxed,” Sergio Mora tells me. “I didn’t expect him to be this big in person.”
If there’s one thing a brief conversation with former WBC junior middleweight champion Mora can convey it’s the fact the guy is personable with a capital “P.” It’s just a few seconds into our talk when it becomes obvious why DAZN picked the Californian up as a broadcaster. He’s a natural talker, one unafraid to let his thoughts and words flow. “It’s been the chance of a lifetime for me,” he says of DAZN, who he’s been with since it’s US debut last year. “It’s really great to be a part of something from the foundation.”
It’s been an interesting year for the 38 year old Mora, and for DAZN, as well. For it was the streaming service that covered Andy Ruiz’ stunning upset of Anthony Joshua last June at Madison Square Garden live. And it was Mora who was right there at ringside as part of the broadcast team when it happened. Now, just a few months later, Mora will be on hand to cover another high level matchup for DAZN, this time in Las Vegas rather than New York.
“This is a huge, calculated risk by Canelo,” he says here in the lead up to Saturday’s bout between boxing’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Still, Mora’s been in the game too long, be it as a broadcaster, a titlist, or as the star of The Contender, to be under any illusions. “We know that Canelo, he’s a 5-1 favorite,” says Mora, adding that “Vegas never loses.” And Mora also has other reasons for thinking Canelo should have the edge walking into Saturday night, as well.
“Only great fighters come back from brutal knockouts,” he says in reference to Kovalev, whose been stopped not once, but twice in the ring. Mora adds, though, that the Russian fighter has “greatness in him.” Mora can also empathize with Kovalev in the sense that neither man has been a star of Canelo’s caliber. “I can relate to what Kovalev is going through, but not Canelo,” he says.
Although Mora knows better than most how surprising the sport of boxing can be, he makes it clear during our brief chat that he wants to be consistently good at his job ringside. “I know when I’m stepping out of line with BK,” he says honestly. Whether it’s in or out of the ring, this is a man who enjoys stepping up his game.
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