SAN DIEGO, October 5, 2013 – Welcome back, Miguel Cotto.
Cotto accomplished exactly what he set out to do Saturday in Florida, putting himself back on the path to fighting big name opponents with a crushing third round TKO win over Delvin Rodriguez. It’s good news for Cotto, good news for trainer Freddie Roach, better news for boxing, and the best possible news for fight fans.
In front of a packed house of nearly 12,000 fans at the new Amway Center in Orlando, the Puerto Rican star Cotto was all business, starting with a stripped down ring walk sans any music, with no entourage of rappers or celebrities.
Cotto put his powerful left hooks to work early. At the end of Round 2, Cotto threw an overhand right to set up a teeth rattling left hook that seriously hurt Rodriguez. Rodriguez made it out of the round, but he simply could not recover.
Rodriguez came out for the third round, and Cotto took it to him. He sealed the win at 2:42 of the round with the final pair of picture perfect left hooks, dropping Rodriguez to the canvas. Referee Frank Santore Jr. immediately stopped the fight for the TKO win. At the post-fight news conference, Rodriguez said he felt Cotto’s power, but had recovered by the start of the third round and thought the fight was stopped too early.
Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) connected on 55 of 110 punches thrown, versus just 16 punches landed for Rodriguez (28-7-3, 16 KOs). Cotto landed 54 percent of his power punches.
After the fight, Cotto credited a good hard training camp and putting in the necessary work. “I just want to make myself happy, make everybody happy and get a victory. It feels good, bringing it back to the basics, bringing it back to the roots.” Cotto said getting older has made him happier during the post-fight news conference, flashing a rare smile. Perhaps because he’s also wiser.
Trainer Freddie Roach told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “We’re going to have a lot of big fights after this … Yeah, line ‘em up.”
So who’s next? Fans love the prospect of a fight with middleweight Sergio Martinez, but Cotto is not a middleweight. Can he make 160 pounds? It’s a match-up for a negotiated weight. It’s by far the easiest bout to make from a promoter standpoint, and Roach and Cotto apparently both like the idea.
A fight that makes intrinsic sense would match Cotto against Canelo Alvarez in a Cinco de Mayo card between the Puerto Rican and Mexican stars. It would make a hot ticket and pay per view event. But there must be détente between promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy to allow this to happen.
It’s also possible Cotto would want to avenge his loss to Austin Trout in the near future.
Consider this: a rematch between an older and wiser Cotto and Floyd Mayweather. Maywether is short on worthy opponents. Cotto gave Mayweather a challenge and bloodied Money. Freddie Roach said at the post-fight news conference that Cotto told him if he were in the shape he was for tonight’s fight, he would have beaten Mayweather.
When the fans are excited, the promoters get excited – excited enough to make things happen despite the current cold war between them.
Cotto’s win and the ensuing excitement speculation says a lot about the shortage of high quality, entertaining match-ups available in the 154 pound through 168 pound weight classes. Delvin Rodriguez was a pop quiz, not any real test for Cotto.
The televised undercard bout was so boring, the fans in Orlando cheered when the tenth and final round was announced. Terence Crawford (22-0-0, 16 KOs) won a unanimous decision by three scores of 100-90 over previously undefeated Andrey Klimov (16-1-0, 8 KOs) in the lightweight division. Crawford needed to impress to get on the radar for featured fights in the future. He didn’t. Klimov refused to engage; even his trainer was disgusted with him. Crawford scored where he could without putting himself at any risk to win.
In a similar vein, the less said about today’s heavyweight fight from Moscow, the better. For the record, Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs) defeated Aleander Povetkin (26-1, 18 KOs) in a lopsided unanimous decision. The fight was frustrating and unpleasant to watch. Klitschko, by far taller than Povetkin, spent half his ring time leaning over on top of Povetkin thanks to a permissive judge. Klitschko pushed Povetkin to the canvas several times; he scored several legitimate knockdowns. HBO producers must have cringed knowing the network would stink up the screen twice with this one.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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