Antonio Moran is that fighter. Moran makes for good fights, knows what to do in the ring, but always falls short in meaningful fights.
Rather than wind up as a journeyman or a gatekeeper, Moran believes he can still make one more run to become a legit contender, and then fight for a world title belt.
Moran will square off against once-beaten Jeffrey Torres Friday night at the White Sands Event Center in Plant City, Florida. The eight-round bout will be part of the eight-man ‘Last Chance’ junior welterweight tournament that will stream live on ProBox TV (7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT).
In the main event, Fanlong Meng, the longtime IBF light heavyweight mandatory challenger, will square off against former world titleholder Jean Pascal.
Moran (26-5-1, 19 knockouts), who resides in Mexico City, has not fought since August 14, losing by unanimous decision to contender Arnold Barboza.
The 29-year-old has accumulated mixed results against modest opposition, but has fallen short against the upper echelon of fighters at 135 and 140 pounds. In June 2018, Moran lost a very close and competitive fight against then-lightweight contender Jose Pedraza. Almost a year later, Moran had fought on even terms early against Devin Haney, but was brutally knocked out in the seventh round.
Over four months later, Moran fought to a draw against then-unbeaten junior welterweight Yomar Alamo. Over a year later, in October 2020, Moran scored a knockout win over once-beaten Emanuel Colon in the fifth round.
Moran has made a name for himself on Boxeo Telemundo telecasts that are promoted by All Star Boxing. The losses to Pedraza, Barboza, and Haney occurred on ESPN and DAZN, respectively.
Despite rough stretches in his career, Moran still makes for exciting fights and is confident he can move forth and win the inaugural tournament. He faces a fighter in Torres (10-1, 6 KOs), who has won his last three fights, but two of his victories have come against fighters with winning records.
“I believe the level of opposition I have faced and my experience will be a huge advantage for me in this fight (against Torres) and in the tournament,” Moran told BoxingScene Tuesday night. “I have faced all different sorts of fighters. Boxers, punchers, aggressive fighters, etc. I had a very strong camp and I prepared myself to the best of my ability. I still feel strong and look forward to the fight.”
Moran is a boxer-puncher who moved up to 140 pounds a few years ago. Even as he has not been able to secure a career-defining victory, he is still confident he can become a legit contender, should he win the tournament.
“I don’t think people have seen the best version of me,” said Moran, who will be fighting for the fourth time in Florida. “I’ve made some adjustments after my losses. I always learn and I always want to get better.”
Winning the tournament could put Moran into contender status. The 140-pound division is loaded with talent and any fight against a top contender would put Moran as the underdog.
That suits him fine as he relishes being the underdog and having people count him out. Moran is confident he can not only impress Friday night, but can take a significant step forward by winning the tournament.
The winner of the Moran-Torres fight will face the winner of the Michael Dutchover-Clarence Booth fight.
“There is talent in the tournament, but I’m confident I have what it takes to win. I must first get past Torres. I’m not looking past him. I have to look impressive against him.
“Having Antonio Tarver, Juan Manuel Marquez, Paulie Malignaggi, amongst others, at ringside calling the action is motivating me to win and impress them at the same time. I’m going to continue to be at my best and let my hands do the talking.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The BoxingScene since September 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing