Jerry Glick reporting: Miguel Cotto, 155, shocked 21,090 paying customers in attendance at Madison Square Garden and fans viewing the fight on TV when he scored three knockdowns over defending WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez, 158 ¾, in the first round and almost did it again in the second but it was ruled a slip when Martinez went down again.
By the ninth frame, Martinez, 51-3-2 (28 KOs), looked a bit weary and when Cotto, 39-4 (32 KOs), landed a jab, Martinez’ left knee appeared to touch the canvas so referee Michael Griffin ruled it a knockdown.
Cotto applied pressure with southpaw Martinez boxing behind a right jab and using lateral movement, but as the rounds passed Cotto’s constant pressure and hard and accurate punching wore the aging, 39 year old, Martinez down. Finally the bout was halted at six seconds into round ten making Miguel Cotto the first Puerto Rican boxer to win titles in four different weight classes.
After the fight, DiBella Entertainment’s head man, Lou DiBella said that Martinez, who he promotes, was sent to the hospital to make sure he is okay after claiming that he never got over the punches he absorbed that lead to the first round knockdowns. In fact he was still feeling the effects of those punches after the fight.
As for where does his fighter go from here Cotto’s trainer, Freddy Roach said, “You can forget 147.” He sees opportunities for Miguel at 154 and 160, but no lower.
Cotto looked very strong and it was obvious that the additional weight was muscle, not fat. It was only a few years ago that word was that Cotto was a shot fighter. Those rumors were, as they say, greatly exaggerated. Cotto never looked better. How would he fair against Golovkin? So far no one has done well against the WBA and IBO Middleweight champ, but Cotto may be able to surprise us again.
In a mostly sloppy affair Wilfredo Vazquez Jr 125 ¾, looked like a winner, but the Judges gave it to Marvin Sonsona 125 ¾, by scores of 96-92 twice for Sonsona, 19-1-1 16 KOs), and once for Vasquez. It was an often sloppy affair with Sonsona running into his foe’s head hurting his own face. The fright was marred by clinches that on a couple of occasions ended up on the floor, and a final insult happened when referee Steve Willis was hit on his face by a wayward punch after breaking up a clinch. A straight left by southpaw Sonsona put Vasquez down in the opening frame. He got up unhurt and the fight was competitive for the rest of the ten rounds they fought. A point was deducted from Sonsona for hitting Vasquez, 23-4-1 (19 KOs), behind the head round six. With the win, Sonsona cops the vacant NABF Light Middleweight belt.
Jorge Melendez, 153, started fast out fighting Javier Maciel, 154, to take the first three frames only to run into a wide sweeping right hand by Maciel, 29-3 (20 KOs), and found himself on the canvas in the fourth round. Melendez also lost a point in that round for low blows. After landing that big right Maciel discovered that he could not miss with it and it became his prime weapon for most of the rest of the fight. Many of those rights appeared to stagger Melendez, 28-4-1 (26 KOs), but Maciel was not able to score the knockout. All three Judges had Maciel ahead; 94-94, 96-92, and 97-91. The win also put USNBC Super Welterweight belt around his waist. Harvey Dock refereed.
Former middleweight Andy Lee, 154, now fighting as a junior middleweight, was on the short end of the scoring going into round five of his NABF Jr. Middleweight title fight with John Jackson, 152. Jackson landed a left that made Lee stumble to the ropes where he let fly a brutal right uppercut from his southpaw stance that put out Jackson’s lights. Jackson helped Lee out by charging in without defending his chin. Jackson went down and was unconscious for a few minutes. The time of the knockout was 1:07 of the fifth round of ten. Lee improved to 33-2 (23 KOs), and Jackson fell to 18-2 (15 KOs). Benji Estevez refereed.
It was all undefeated Felix Verdejo, 134 ½, as he crushed a defenseless Engelberto Valenzuela, 134 ½, who never even threw a punch. Everything Verdejo, 13-0 (10 KOs), threw landed and hurt his opponent. After absorbing nothing short of a demolition job from hot prospect Verdejo, Valenzuela, 9-2 (3 KOs), went down. He look to be in bad shape when got regained his feet, but appeared to gather himself only to be battered some more prompting referee Arthur Mercante to stop it at 1:17 of round one of a scheduled eight.
As the fight began, Miguel Cotto walked to ringside and sat down to watch his fellow Puerto Rican score a one round KO.
In a fight that brought out the boos from the fans, Jose Lopez, 121 ¼, used his faster hands to outbox an aggressive Raul Hidalgo, 122 ¼, taking almost all the rounds from all three Judges, 80-72 twice and 79-73 all for WBC Super Bantamweight Fecarbox champion Lopez who went from interim champ to champ with the victory. Hidalgo drops to 21-11-0-1 (16 KOs), as Lopez improved to 13-0 (10 KOs). Ricky Gonzalez refereed.
Jose Pedraza, 132 ½, upped his unbeaten record to 17-0 (11 KOs), when he battered Arturo Uruzquieta 131 ½, all over the ring finally decking him in the corner after a few quick combinations. As in the first two fights it was in the same corner, different referee (this time it was Arthur Mercante) where the fight was halted at 2:19 of round one of six scheduled.
Willie Nelson 157, lands right to journeyman Darryl Cunningham’s, 156 ½, head and then hammers him to the canvas with a barrage of punches . Up and in bad shape the ring doctor jumps onto the ring apron to end the slaughter at 2:43 of the first round of six. Cunningham falls to 29-7 (11 KOs), while Nelson improved to 22-1-1 (13 KOs). Eddie Claudio refereed.
Jantony Ortiz, 113 ½, a former Olympian, started the fight ending barrage with a right to the head of Elio David Ruiz, 112 ¼, then followed up with a series of punches that caused Ruiz to sink to the canvas where referee Ricky Ortiz counted to ten. Time of the knockout, 50 seconds of round one of four scheduled. Ortiz debuts with a win, and Ortiz falls to 1-5 (0 KOs).