The May 31 bout between the V.I.’s own Samuel “The Rock City Cobra” Rogers and Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora promises to be a “make it or break it” fight for both boxers, who are not only looking to move up in the ranks, but also to put themselves in line for future world title opportunities.
The bout is a 10-round special middleweight attraction on an impressive card featuring former world champion Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs,) who will be taking on Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4 23 KOs) in another highly anticipated faceoff. Rogers and Mora are third on the card, which will kick off at Las Vegas’ New Tropicana Resort around 9 p.m. Vegas time, but will be televised live on HBO Latino and HBO2 around midnight (EST/PT.)
Speaking at a press conference held on St. Thomas on Thursday to announce the fight, Rogers described the opportunity as a “rebirth and fresh start.” Rogers (14-1, 8 KOs) earned his first belt – a vacant WBC FECARBOX title – in Vegas in 2011 after going the distance with opponent Jamar Freeman, but Rogers was recently dealt a blow in Argentina after losing to Carlos Adan Jerez in a bout that went the full 10 rounds and ended in a split decision.
“It was a tough loss, one that was hard to swallow,” Rogers said at Thursday’s press conference. “But it was also the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Rogers said since learning about the upcoming bout with Mora, he has channeled his “hunger” into training “hard and smart” with his coaches and is going in with some new strategies. Mora (25-2-3,) the first winner of the popular reality television show “The Contender,” has fought everyone from Vernon Forrest to the famous Shane Mosely and has gone over 200 professional rounds in the ring.
“He’s tough, but he isn’t tougher than me,” Rogers said Thursday. “In the ring, I know I have to put pressure on him and dictate the fight. He’s a sneaky opponent and he doesn’t throw a whole heap of punches, but the ones he does put out there really do connect.”
Mora is also coming off a five-bout winning streak, but Rogers said that he is going to focus on keeping mentally prepared for the fight.
“The word that I have been using during training camp, as we have continued to work these past few months, is ‘spectacular,’ and that is how I am going to win: in spectacular fashion,” Rogers said.
340 Boxing officials, who manage Rogers and V.I. professional boxers John and Julius Jackson, added at the press conference that tickets for the fight are still available, and start at only $37. For more information, call (340) 998-1166.
“This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, a big step, for us here in the Virgin Islands,” 340 Boxing promoter Lesley Comissiong said at Thursday’s event. “For Sam to come off an unfortunate loss like he did and step up to Sergio Mora is truly a testiment to our team and to the talent we have here.” The Las Vegas event is being promoted in conjunction with Sampson Lewkowivz of Sampson Boxing, 340 Boxing’s longtime matchmaker.
Comissiong added that, other than John Jackson, the last Virgin Islander featured on an HBO broadcast was Julian “the Hawk” Jackson, the three-time world boxing champion and hall of famer that oversees the boxers’ training and spearheads the USVI Amateur Boxing Federation’s program in Paul M. Pearson Gardens.