LAS VEGAS-A bloodied Floyd Mayweather rallied to take the final rounds and wrest the WBA junior middleweight title from Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto in a rather surprising slugfest on Saturday at the MGm Grand. In the co-main event Mexico's Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was the solid victor over Sugar Shane Mosley.
Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) was aggressive and came with a solid game plan to keep Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) busy and unable to use his famous defense. It was seldom a defensive struggle as both fought inside for most of the 12 round fight at the MGM Grand.
Though many did not like the scores, the fight itself was an entertaining affair.
After Cotto seemed to be out working Mayweather for three rounds, the Las Vegas prizefighter finally seemed to wake up with five consecutive right hands. Then a combination seemed to rock Cotto but he withstood the barrage.
Mayweather had that look of surprise, but once he realized that Cotto was not going to slow down, the speedy prizefighter began to become more respectful of the Puerto Rican's abilities. Plus, that sledgehammer left hand was taking a toll on Mayweather's nose. For the first time in recent memory Mayweather looked battered.
“We wanted to give them what they wanted to see,” Mayweather said after. “It was exciting. Miguel Cotto was a tough competitor. He's not a pushover.”
Most of the latter part of the match was fought inside with both firing aggressive combinations. Cotto mixed left hooks to the body and head and some ramrod left jabs. Mayweather fired his right leads and in the last three rounds found a right hand-left uppercut combination very effective. In the final round he hurt Cotto with it but the Puerto Rican survived the onslaught.
All three judges scored it for Mayweather but the scores were pretty surprising, 118-110 Robert Hoyle, 117-111 by Patricia Jarmon and Dave Moretti.
“The judges said I lost the fight I can't do anything else. I brought my best and I did my best. I'm happy with my fight and with my performance. I can't ask for anything else,” Cotto said.
Mayweather is the new WBA junior middleweight titleholder.
Alvarez answered the questions on whether he deserved a world title with a persistent battering of Pomona's legendary Mosley to retain the WBC junior middleweight belt. Youth and strength were the Mexican fighter's advantages and he took full advantage.
After a tentative first round Alvarez began to land left hooks and uppercuts. Then came the right hands until the fifth round when Mosley took a stand. But Alvarez won that round too. Mosley just couldn't overcome the youth advantage but he did stay on his feet. It wasn't easy.
Mosley couldn't see the right hand and by the sixth round the left side of his face was swollen from the repeated blows absorbed. Alvarez then began to dig to the body and it looked like he could knock down Mosley but he survived and rallied a bit.
Alvarez looked the better fighter clean and simple. No controversy.
“It was a good experience. I'm going to get much better,” said Alvarez (40-0-1) who hails from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Mosley was both gracious and honest about Alvarez and his own performance.
“His defense was really good. He was really fast,” commented Mosley. “His body shots were good and his punches were pretty sharp…I might have to stick to promoting.”
Alvarez felt his victory substantiates his ability.
“I want Mayweather, Cotto, whatever. I'm ready,” Alvarez said.
Rising contender Jessie Vargas (19-0, 9 KOs) beat former world champion Steve “Two Pounds” Forbes (35-11, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds of a welterweight match. It was a very technical fight as Vargas used his height, reach and steady jab to out point Forbes who formerly held a junior lightweight world title. Forbes, one of the real technically proficient boxers today, just couldn't overcome the physical advantages Vargas possesses. The scores were 100-90, 97-93 and 98-92 for Vargas.
It was the old gunslinger over the young gunslinger as Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23 KOs) knocked out DeAndre Latimore (23-4, 17 KOs) with a 12-punch barrage ending with a left cross. Latimore never could figure out his fellow southpaw's movements and paid for it at 2:19 of round six. Quintana could be Alvarez's next opponent.
San Diego's junior welterweight Antonio Orozco (14-0, 10 KOs) didn't waste time against Florida's Dillet Frederick (8-6-3, 5 KOs). From the opening bell until 1:45 of round three Orozco rained body shots and left hooks like there was an expiration date on punches. The red tag fire sale ended with Orozco snapping Frederick's head back like one of those Dodger bobble head dolls. Referee Kenny Bayless ended the match despite the Floridian never tasting the canvas. It was a good stoppage.
Omar Figueroa (16-0-1, 13 KOs) slammed a left hook to Robbie “Pea Shooter” Cannon's jaw at 2:08 of round two for a knockout win. In the first round Figueroa connected with a left hook to Cannon's liver and he dropped after a 20-second delay for a knock down. Cannon (12-7-2, 6 KOs) tried to protect his body from another body shot but fell for a feint to the body and left the head unprotected. Figueroa, who hails from Weslaco Texas, but trains in Indio, California, punished him for the mistake in the lightweight bout.
A battle of undefeated welterweights ended in Keith Thurman's favor by technical knockout at 25 seconds of round three against Missouri's Brandon Hoskins (16-1-1, 8 KOs). Florida's Thurman (17-0, 16 KOs) had too much speed for Hoskins to handle but he tried. A knockdown from a left hook in round two forced Hoskins to increase his own tempo, but Thurman teed off and referee Russell Mora stopped the fight.
Puerto Rico's Braulio Santos (6-0, 5 KOs) remained undefeated but San Bernardino's Juan Sandoval (5-9-1, 3 KOs) snapped the knockout streak of the Boricua. All three judges scored it 59-55 for Santos who used his speed to gain points but couldn't figure out Sandoval's attack in the six round featherweight match. Sandoval's body attack kept Santos from going all out.