Miguel Cotto dominates Sergio Martinez, Peter Wells reports as Cotto becomes a 4-weight world champion.
With so many questions waiting to be answered it was terribly ironic that the most important of those questions was to be answered before the first punch had been thrown. Knee braces supporting both of Martinez’s knee’s told you all you needed to know about Martinez’s fitness, the result seemed to be inevitable after that.
Cotto duly took advantage of Martinez’s liabilities winning in 9 rounds, Martinez’s corner pulling him out after a one-sided beating. How effective this Cotto will be at Middleweight – if he decides to stay there – is hard to fathom having beaten such a banged up champion, who was far from his best last night.
Cotto became the first Puerto Rican 4-weight world champion, just another string to add to his bow in his legendary career.
The bold statement of his trainer Freddie Roach looked very likely in the opener as Martinez, whose mobility was clearly hampered, could not avoid Cotto who stood centre ring and pounced on Martinez, flooring him 3 times in the opener.
The left hook caught Martinez flush leaving him in trouble in the opening minute, then a culmination of punches forced Martinez to the canvas. Martinez looked stunned and stumbled down a second time not long after, this time smirking as he rose from the deck, possibly laughing at the irony of his body failing him in such a huge fight. A third knockdown followed shortly after, but Cotto who remained patient didn’t force a stoppage that looked on the cards in the early stages.
Martinez’s balance improved round by round but he could never force himself into the fight. Cotto owned the centre of the ring and Martinez remained out of range, the usual spring in his steps that would allow him to bounce in and out with the jab and left cross was not there.
Cotto continued to land occasionally with the left hook, visibly stinging Martinez whenever it connected with the chin of the 39 year old. It was hard to find a way to give any rounds to Martinez. Cotto’s work rate dropped but Martinez’s connect rate did not improve significantly.
Cotto’s timing was brilliant and his underrated boxing skills were on full display, but one must not look past the fact that Martinez was there for the taking that night, and Cotto took full advantage.
Still Cotto remained impressive and professional throughout, never losing his composure when many would not have blamed him for going for the knockout, but wary of Martinez’s power in the left hand he never gave the champion a sniff.
Martinez was ruled to have gone down again in the 9th, although replays clearly showed Martinez’s knee had not touched the canvas. It was proof if ever you need it that when one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong.
Looking in no position to force a shock in the championship rounds, and clearly not in fighting shape, Martinez and his corner made the correct decision to retire after the 9th round, that ghost knockdown possibly the final straw.
Clearly Martinez and his team knew that the fighters knees weren’t anywhere near 100%, which begs the question of why they allowed the fight to go ahead. But it is far more complicated than that, and while the right choice would have been to pull the plug on the contest, they would have been hopefully optimistic that Martinez could still find a way to win, probably hoping his power would get to Cotto. The money would have also been a large factor, and most important of all, a fighters pride.
So while one legend continues in Miguel Cotto 39-4(32) another may be about to take his final bow in boxing. Sergio Martinez’s rise to the top was as sudden as his bodies demise, the multi-talented Argentinian 51-3-2(28) has provided fans with several great nights of boxing.
The undercard saw two upsets as Javier Maciel 29-3(20) and Marvin Sonsona 19-1-1(15) both scored majority and split decision victories respectively.
Maciel came in as a late replacement to face the favoured Puerto Rican Jorge Melendez 28-4-1(26) who may well have underestimated his opposite number.
Maciel was active throughout; jumping on a rather lethargic Melendez who clearly believed his power would get to Maciel in the end. However that wasn’t the case and in a very enjoyable scrap he rightly took the victory.
Sonsona scored a revenge victory of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr 23-4-1(19) – whom he lost to in 4 rounds in 2010. It was an extremely scrappy affair that was at times tough to watch. Sonsona scored the only knockdown of the fight in the opener, while also seeing a point deduction later in the fight.
Most of the rounds were hard to score thanks to the scrappy nature of the contest, but it was Sonsona who took an unpopular split verdict.
Elsewhere Andy Lee suffered a 2nd round knockdown to score a contender for knockout of the year as a counter right hand landed under the chin of John Jackson who landed flat on his face, out from the moment the punch connected.
Lee 33-2(23) sent a statement against his big punching opponent, putting himself back in contention in the world title picture. Jackson – son of big hitting Julian Jackson – dropped to 18-2(15) after a respectable effort.
Potential Puerto Rican superstar Felix Verdejo 13-0(10) continued to sparkle with a first round stoppage of Engelberto Valenzuela 8-2(3). A step up in class seems to be needed now for the former amateur star.
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