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Round 1 Begins for Mora's Pro Career

Boxing: Failure to make Olympic team left him disillusioned, out of shape. Now, Westminster fighter is fit and has a new goal--the world heavyweight title.


Deciding that his boxing style and lifestyle were no longer suited to the amateur ranks, 19-year-old heavyweight Javier Mora of Westminster announced Monday he is turning professional.

Mora, who reached the consolation semifinals of the 2000 Olympic trials, will make his pro debut Aug. 17 at the Arrowhead Pond in a four-round undercard bout against Tom Allen of Phoenix.

"My dream was to win a gold medal, but I still can achieve another dream--the world heavyweight title," Mora said Monday. "I felt I was ready."

When Mora returned from the Olympic trials in Tampa, Fla., five months ago, he seemed ready to pursue the 2004 Olympics.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 3, 2000 Orange County Edition Sports Part D Page 10 Sports Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Boxing--The weight class that Jose Navarro of Los Angeles competes in was incorrect in an Aug. 1 story. He will represent the United States in the Olympics in the 112-pound class.

But he said he quickly tired of asking his father, Javier Sr., to support his amateur career and he became disillusioned with the politics of amateur boxing. He also got out of shape, ballooning up 272 pounds.

Last week, Mora decided he had enough of the amateurs. He was scheduled to fight in a pro-am competition in Maywood, but his opponent never showed because he wasn't licensed with USA Boxing.

"I was pumped up to fight," Mora said. "When the guy didn't show, I said, 'I've had enough of this.'

"It's hard being an amateur. You see everybody else making money and you're not getting any of it. I wanted to be out on my own."

Jose Navarro of Los Angeles is the only super heavyweight at the Olympic trials who has remained an amateur. Last week, Mora signed a five-year managerial contract with Mike Jacoby and Norm Kaplan. Jacoby had been Mora's major sponsor in the amateurs.

"Pro boxing has always fit me better anyway," Mora said. "They score by how much damage you do, not by those little pitty-pat punches you throw in the amateurs."

Mora, a powerful puncher with fast hands, hopes to become the first Mexican heavyweight to win a world title. He expects it will take him at least three years to reach that goal.

"I think I'll be world champion with the right discipline and dedication," he said.

Mora, now down to 250 pounds, will work with L.A. trainer Manuel Robles and not Ernie Chavez, his longtime trainer. Mora said he has not yet informed his father of his decision to turn pro. Javier Sr. wants his son to remain an amateur until the 2004 Olympics.

"It's my decision," Mora said. "I don't think he'll like it. I wish he was there with me. It would be that much more exciting."

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