Cotto Annihilates Martinez!
Ringside Report by: Jose E. Santiago
Photos by Emily Harney
On Saturday night in Madison Square Garden in New York Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) made history by dethroning the lineal middleweight kingpin Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (52-3-2 28 KOs) with a brilliant boxing performance for the ages.
In front of a sold out crowd of over twenty thousand Cotto and Martinez met center ring at the sound of the opening bell. What appeared to be the customary “feeling out” round was maliciously interrupted by a crushing Cotto left hook that sent shockwaves through MSG and wobbled Martinez. As most of the crowd erupted in support for Cotto he pressed and scored three knockdowns in the first round.
In the second round Martinez circled left after being instructed to do so by his trainer Pablo Sarmiento in an effort to avoid another left hook from Cotto. It was apparent that he was still trying to gather his senses and solidify his legs after the brutal first round he endured. His legs looked wobbly and observers could not negate that his surgically repaired knees were giving his problems. Cotto pressed the action however and continued to land hard thudding shots to the head and body. As Martinez circled left, Cotto would land right hands that would stop him from moving. Cotto was thought to be the weaker of the two prior to the fight, but it was Cotto that looked stronger by systematically manhandling Martinez even in the clinches. In one exchange Martinez’s legs failed him again as he hit the canvas. This time it was ruled a trip by referee Michael Griffin.
After using round two to gather himself, Martinez had a better round three. Using his trademark swift jab to setup a few left hands it appeared as though he had mustered enough courage to make a fight of it. However, Cotto was not fazed by any of the shots landed and continued to truck forward and walk through the shots landed by Martinez. Cotto spent the round with his hands up taking everything Martinez had to offer and would counter successfully to negate any momentum shift attempted by Martinez. Cotto did have some blood in and around his mouth at the conclusion of the round.
In the fourth Cotto continued to bang Martinez with thudding punches heard through the venue. Martinez’ machismo or frustration was evident as he urged Cotto to slug it out. Martinez looked to have adjusted to Cotto’s power and was taking shots a little better. Both fighters were working behind their jabs, but much to everyone’s surprise it was Cotto that looked to be the faster fighter. With 1:35 left in the round Cotto hurt Martinez again with the left hook.
In the fifth, Cotto was still landing the left hook at will setting it up with a straight right hand lead. He out boxed Martinez by slipping jabs, keeping his left foot outside of his opponents right foot and setup three and four punch combinations. Martinez did have his best round so far by putting together a few combinations, but every time he’d build a little momentum Cotto would defuse them by landing combinations of his own.
1:07 into round six Cotto continued in his brilliance and caught the reeling Martinez with a combination ending with yet another left hook. Martinez successfully started landing a right hand to the body, left hand to the head combination. With just about 35 seconds left in the round Cotto landed a right hand to the body that hurt Martinez again. Many exchanges in the round, but Cotto’s were causing continuous damaged to the fading Martinez.
In the seventh, Cotto bounced on his toes choosing when to engage on Martinez. His hands were faster, his legs were fresher and with his power, overwhelmingly won the round. Cotto slipped punches and with 50 seconds left in the round countered with a right hand to the ribs of Martinez. Another round won by Cotto as he displayed a brilliant boxing prowess.
Cotto continued his brilliance in round eight as he moved and slipped away from any shots thrown by Martinez. Two minutes in the two engaged and an unintentional head butt caused Martinez to complain. However, a combination landed during the unintentional clash of heads also did damage to the Argentine. A sign that the end was possibly near occurred with 20 seconds left in the round, when Martinez missed a lead jab, lost his balance and used his hands to stop from stumbling forward. The demeanor in both corners were complete opposites. It was prevalent ringside that the Cotto’s corner was relaxed while Roach gave instruction, all the while Martinez’s corner looked very concerned as they attended to a cut over their warriors right eye.
In the ninth and final round of action, Cotto continued to move forward and land shots seemingly at will. Martinez moved, batted at his bleeding eye, and like a true warrior still attempted to land shots on his elusive counterpart. 45 seconds in Cotto hurt him again with a counter right hand to the head.. The end was near when Cotto landed a left uppercut that hurt Martinez just over a minute into the round. As the round continued Martinez made futile attempts to connect but Cotto was just too sharp and strong to be fazed. With twenty seconds left in the round Martinez wobbled during an exchange. It did not appear as though his gloves touched the ground but referee Michael Griffin called it a knockdown and issued an eight count. At the conclusion of the round Martinez looked wobbly and clapped his gloves together in frustration.
After the ninth Martinez’ corner was overcome with not only his team, but with officials and medical personnel looking to get a better look at the battered fighter. Sitting ringside the visible concern was palpable. Seconds after the sound of the bell Sarmiento turned and ask the referee to stop the fight. Official time was TKO :06 of round ten.
With the victory, enters the record books as the first Puerto Rican fighter to win four world titles in different weight classes.
Sonsona gets Revenge over Vazquez!
The co-main event of the evening featured a rematch for the NABF featherweight title as Philippine Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15 KOs) avenged his 2010 TKO loss to Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez (24-4-1, 19 KOs) by winning a close ten-round split decision.
The first round started with Vazquez nearly running across the ring to meet his rival, but his aggressiveness was halted a minute in when Sonsona landed a left hand to the liver that dropped Vazquez to his knees wincing in pain. After gathering himself, Vazquez beat the count and the action continued.
In the second, Vazquez used his speed to land while Sonsona used his aggressiveness to land the harder shots. Vazquez landed more shots but the harder blows belonged to Sonsona.
The third round had Vazquez moving forward and pursing Sonsona. Sonsona did all he could to land lead lefts but Vazquez appeared to have won the round on sheer aggressiveness.
The fourth and fifth rounds saw the action heated up. Vazquez picked up the pressure in the fourth and did very well at making Sonsona feel uncomfortable and off balance. Although not hurt, Sonsona caught some good shots against the ropes in the middle of the round. In round five Vazquez continued to press the action as they traded shots in the last minute of the round. The early aggressiveness by Vazquez was catching up to Sonsona as he slowed a bit in the round.
A minute and twenty seconds into round six Sonsona pinned Vasquez into the red corner and did some good work. Vasquez was able to land two hooks of his own. With about 40 seconds left in the round Sonsona landed a shot during the break which caused referee Steve Willis to take away a point.
Round seven was a foul filled affair. Within the first 20 seconds of the round an inadvertent headbutt followed by a low blow by Vazquez paused the action. About 40 seconds later an unintentional low blow dropped Sonsona. With a minute left Sonsona was warned for a foul of his own.
Rounds eight and nine were close. With all the tussling and holding both fighters refused to give way culminating in an MMA like take down in the tenth when the fighters held each other and wrestled. Vazquez won the tenth round on all three score cards but it was not enough.
Official scores were: 96-92 Vazquez and 96-92 twice for Sonsona.
Maciel wins the War!
In a super welterweight clash for the USNBC title, Javier Maciel (29-3, 20 KOs) locked horns with Jorge Melendez (28-4-1, 26 KOs) to win a majority decision. The bout was somewhat of a preview to the main event as Argentinean Maciel was pitted against Puerto Rican Melendez.
In the opening round, both fighters sized each other and tested each others chin. Plenty of speed and accuracy was on display by each combatant.
In the second round, the fighters held their guard up and took turns shooting shots on the inside. Not only did they trade on the inside, but both fighters took turns exchanging vicious uppercuts. Towards the end of the round Melendez was warned a second time for low blows.
The low blows by Melendez continued in the third which
prompted referee Harvey Dock to issue another warning. The intensity of the shots was evident in this round as both fighters tried to swing the momentum in their way. It looked as though Melendez may have squeaked out the round by landing a last second combination at the end.
Yet another low blow to start the fourth by Melendez caused a point deduction. With 30 seconds left in the round Marciel landed a clipping overhand right that dropped Melendez. Melendez smiled when he got up, but Maciel was able to land a series of hard right hands to the head in the closing seconds.
Round five started the way the fourth ended as Maciel landed another hard right hand the sprayed water over the ringside observers. Sensing that he may be behind Melendez looked to take some control but in the last five seconds Maciel closed out the round with a nice combination.
In the sixth Maciel looked a little gassed and Melendez took advantage and outworked him to win the round.
In round seven, with a little over one minute left, Maciel pressed Melendez in the red corner and worked the body and head of the Puerto Rican. Maciel easily won the round based on his ability to land more punches.
In the eighth the pace slowed down a bit. Both fighters did well and took turns landing shots.
In the ninth, Maciel had good success in the beginning by landing solid looping right hand capitalized by a hard right at the 1:10 mark. However, it was Melendez that ended the round strong with a closing barrage
The tenth and final round was explosive in the first minute with Melendez coming out guns blazing. Maciel weathered the storm and went toe-to-toe for the remainder of the round. The contested ended with both fighters throwing everything they had left in the last ten seconds.
Maciel scored a majority decision over Melendez. Scores read: 96-92, 97-91 and 94-94
Lee knockouts Jackson!
In the most electrifying fight of the night, veteran Andy Lee (33-2, 23 KOs) moved down to super welterweight and delivered a devastating knockout to John Jackson (18-2, 15 KOs).
In the first, Lee displayed his quirky southpaw style looking to land his jab and keep the fight on the outside. Both fighters exchanged power hands at about 1:20 but Jackson landed a crushing overhand right about five seconds later that dropped Lee. After Lee got up Jackson switched to southpaw looking to land another right hand from the opposite stance.
At the beginning of round two Lee looked like he got his wits back but it didn’t take long for Jackson to look to land more hard shots on the inside. Surprisingly Jackson switched to southpaw again in the middle of the round. With 30 seconds left in the round Jackson began to land some hard right hands as he walked through all of Lee’s arsenal.
In the third Lee continued to box and as in the previous round with a little bit of desperation trying to gain any kind of momentum. He unfortunately kept moving to his right which was in the range of Jackson's power hand. Jackson looked powerful as he muscled Lee around the ring.
The fourth was similar to the previous rounds as Lee just looked to stay on the outside; avoiding any damaging exchanges. Jackson pursued Lee and continued to land the harder shots.
In the fifth, the round started as the others as Jackson pressed Lee against the ropes and had him reeling and hurt. Lee was caught with shots and was reeling to avoid getting knocked down. Just as Lee tried to escape he was press against the ropes again. Jackson looked to land another hard shot however Lee beat him to the punch and landed a right uppercut hook that dropped Jackson face down on the canvas motionless. Lee scores a huge fifth round KO at the 1:07 mark.
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