Cotto rises to "Greatness" with good win over Mosley!
By Mike Indri - Retired Boxers Foundation - November 11, 2007, New York - The fight was super-hyped, and rightfully so, as undefeated welterweight world champion Miguel Cotto was facing his most difficult challenge in four-time, three-division former world champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley, for Cotto's World Boxing Association title belt..
Article posted on 11.11.2007
Madison Square Garden, the "Mecca of Boxing", would once again play host for Cotto and his quest for greatness. While not a sell-out, 17,135 boisterous and proud Puerto Rican fans would cram their way through the turnstiles, they would not be let down - neither would co-promoters Bob Arum or Oscar De La Hoya, as initial reports of the gross gate figures came in at over 3.8 million dollars!
The fight itself, an exciting, intriguing good twelve rounder, may not have lived up to all the pomp and circumstance, but Miguel Cotto truly did. The classy, hard punching Cotto earned his unanimous decision win and proved he belongs amongst the top of the talent laden welterweight list.
Cotto was in with a truly great fighter. Shane Mosley, the only fighter to have twice beaten De La Hoya, has always been a lethally dangerous combination of speed, precision and deceptive power. With his two technical knockout victories over Fernando Vargas in 2006 and his dominatingly brilliant twelve round unanimous decision win against Luis Collazo in his most recent bout (02/10/07), Mosley had proven to all the skeptics that "Sugar" was back to his sweet self.
Fighting against the thirty six year-old elite level former champion who feasts off of making good, and great, fighters look bad, Miguel Cotto looked very good.
Using a good mixture of jabs, body punching and constant pressure Cotto seemed to effectively counter Mosley's quicker hands and appeared to be wearing down the Pomona, CA. fighter. Mosley would later say that his desire to fight and go for the knockout may have hurt, more than help, but a couple of big shots from Mosley caught Cotto on the ropes in round nine and did hurt the Puerto Rican champion.
As quickly as Mosley's stingers were bouncing off of Cotto's head did the party-like atmosphere in boxing's most hallowed venue abruptly change from rabid delirium to hushed concern. The bell sounding the end of round nine brought sighs of relief and nervous cheers.
While tired and hurting, this was when the true greatness of Miguel Cotto emerged again, as it had before in earlier battles. An ability that cannot be taught or trained is that of a fighter's heart, and even while battling as a prospect and then contender, before winning his titles, Miguel Cotto has always shown his heart of a champion.
Mosley put forth his best effort, actually becoming the aggressor late in the fight and backing Cotto into the ropes, only to have his iron willed opponent fire back. Mosley was the fighter pressing the issue as the final bell sounded, ending the closely fought match.
As fight announcer Michael Buffer read the judge's scores (Glenn Feldman 115-113, Wynn Kintz 116-113 and Peter Trematerra 115-113) and referee Benjy Esteves raised Cotto's hand in victory, Team Cotto hoisted Miguel on their shoulders.
Miguel Cotto's championship performance tonight hoisted him into boxing's highest echelon - that exclusive list of today's truly GREAT fighters.
HBO televised three other fights on the Pay-Per-View televised broadcast.
The night's co-feature bout saw former World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Antonio Margarito crush Golden Johnson (25-9-3, 18 KO's), dropping the overmatched fighter from San Antonio, TX three times before referee Wayne Kelly stopped the destruction at 2:38 of the first round. Hurting Johnson early with his big left hand, Margarito sent his foe to the canvas within the first minute of the bout. The ropes were all that was holding Johnson up as the barrage continued and Kelly rightfully started counting for the second knockdown. Looking to end it the Mexican champion battered Johnson around the ring and drove a hard left to the body, which resulted in the third and final knockdown as Kelly waved off the fight. Johnson, coming off his surprising knockout win over Oscar Diaz (11/10/06 TKO 11), was never in the fight against Margarito, now 35-5 (25 KO's), who picked up the vacant WBO Intercontinental welterweight belt with his impressive knockout victory.
Promising jr. welterweight prospect Victor Ortiz thrilled the crowd with his powerful first round knockout over former WBA champion Carlos Maussa. The twenty year-old Ortiz, fighting out of Oxnard, CA. improved to 20-1-1, with Maussa becoming his 15th knockout victim. A straight right-left combination by Ortiz sent the wide-open, Colombian fighter to the deck where he was unable to arise. Maussa, now 20-5 (18 KO's), has now lost his last three fights since dethroning then WBA champion Vivian Harris.
WBC Interim lightweight champion Joel Casamayor somehow was awarded a split decision victory over Jose Santa Cruz in a bout controlled by Santa Cruz throughout most of the twelve rounds. Having not fought since his split decision win over the late Diego Corrales (06/10/07), Casamayor appeared rusty and lethargic. Sent to the canvas, albeit while off balance, with a punch to the arm in round one, the Cuban defector never showed his usual superlative boxing prowess and was out boxed and out hustled by the twenty seven year-old Mexican fighter. Santa Cruz slipped to 25-3 (14 KO's), while Casamayor improved to 35-3-1 (21 KO's) with the judge's gift.
Judge Tony Paolillo had it 114-113 for Santa Cruz, while both Frank Lombardi and Ron McNair scored it 114-113 for Casamayor.
On the non-televised portion of the Top Rank - Golden Boy Promotions fightcard:
Australian featherweight Billy Dib remained undefeated with his commanding eight round unanimous decision win against grizzly veteran Rogers Mtagwa. Dib improved to 17-0 (9 KO's) with his fine performance against the usually tough Philadelphia fighter. Mtagwa slipped to 24-12-2 (17 KO's).
Michael Anderson made his pro debut a successful one with his four round unanimous decision victory over Brooklyn's Olade Thomas, now 1-3. Anderson did impress the judges, who saw it 39-37, 40-36 & 39-37 for the New Jersey welterweight
Jr. middleweight Michael Faragon also made his pro debut a triumphant one, punching his way to a four round unanimous decision over Javier Garcia (now 2-2) from Caguas, PR. All three judges saw it 39-37 for the Schenectady, NY native.
Former amateur standout Ronny Vargas (4-0, 3 KO's) is finding similar success since turning pro this past September. The Bronx jr. middleweight made short work of rugged Bryan Mullis, who fights out of Mount Holley, NC. Following a competitive first round the long and lanky Vargas hurt Mullis with two big right hands. A follow-up left hook drove the stunned fighter to the ropes where the hot prospect pounded away on the wounded Mullis until referee Johnny Callas jumped in to stop the punishment being laid out by Ronny Vargas 50 seconds into round two, of the scheduled four rounder.
Unbeaten Jesus Rojas, now 10-0 (8 KO's) opened the night with a six round technical knockout over Carlos Diaz, 9-11-4 (7 KO's), in a battle of Puerto Rican jr. featherweights. The end came at the 2:12 mark for the gutsy, yet overmatched, Diaz.
Another good night to be a boxing fan, a jam packed Madison Square Garden witnessing Miguel Cotto's rise to true greatness. A December 8th win by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, over Ricky Hatton, would set up another fight of mega-fight proportions. 2007 has been a great year for boxing, and the future looks even better!
Mike Indri can be contacted at [email protected]
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