LAS VEGAS-WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto stopped Nicaragua’s Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga in the 12th round in a fight that was full of bravado, big punches and lots of action on Saturday.
Las Vegas got its money’s worth.
Puerto Rico’s Cotto successfully defended the title at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino by using his superior technique and a stifling jab against the brawling and go for broke style of Mayorga. It was never over until it was over before 7,247 fans.
“I had to keep myself calm,” Cotto said after.
There was not much feeling out in the first round. Both swung for the fences several times in first. Left hooks for Cotto and rights for Mayorga were unleashed as each tried to grab momentum early.
Mayorga landed some nasty right hands in the second but Cotto withstood the blows and came back with the body shots. Right uppercut landed for the Nicaraguan and Cotto countered. Mayorga shook his head again to show they’re weren’t hurting.
Big rights came from Mayorga but Cotto didn’t blink. Mayorga angrily exhorted for Cotto to come into his wheelhouse but the Puerto Rican didn’t oblige. A four punch combo landed for Cotto. Mayorga shook his head again in disdain.
Cotto out boxed Mayorga in the fourth round but not before Mayorga unleashed a dozen blows from all angles. Cotto smiled at the effort which prompted Mayorga to try and converse to no avail.
A couple of three-punch combos to the body and head by Cotto opened up the fifth round. Mayorga then landed a big right hand bomb that the Puerto Rican walked right through. Cotto continued to win the rounds but Mayorga was still dangerous.
Mayorga had his best round in the seventh as he took the fight inside and fired combo after combo. Cotto slipped and moved and countered but the Nica showed he still had some fire in his legs and punches after a lethargic sixth round. Uppercuts and right hands had Mayorga scoring as he clubbed Cotto.
Just when it looked like Mayorga was spent he fired a six-punch Nicaraguan combo that landed some nice right pummels. Still, Cotto controlled the round with his precise punches in the ninth.
Mayorga shrugged when Cotto hit and moved. He motioned Cotto to stand and fight in the 11th but Cotto wasn’t having it.
The final round saw Cotto finally catch Mayorga flush with a left hook to the chin during an exchange. Down he went. He beat the count but when Cotto hit him again with another left hook zinger Mayorga looked to referee Robert Byrd to end the fight and he did at 53 seconds of the 12th round. Cotto scored the technical knockout.
“Cotto hits very hard,” said Mayorga, who suffered a dislocated left thumb in the final stanza. “I wasn’t happy with myself. Now I have to go find a job. I will retire.”
Cotto was happy with the outcome.
“It was an amazing fight,” said Cotto. “Mayorga is very strong. All of his punches hurt.”
The WBA titleholder could next be fighting Antonio Margarito, who was in the audience.
Poland’s Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak (29-1, 19 KOs) brutalized New York City’s Yuri Foreman (28-2-1, 8 KOs) to hand him a defeat via technical knockout at the end of the sixth round of a junior middleweight fight. Using short, compact punches to the head and body Wolak never allowed Foreman to box and move. He smothered everything Foreman tried to do. The sixth round saw Wolak batter the former champion. The corner wisely advised the ref to stop the fight.
“There were no surprises in the ring tonight, I just didn’t have it,” said Foreman, adding that maybe the long layoff hurt his activity.
It might as well have been Gentleman Jim Corbett versus John L. Sullivan because Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez (28-3, 12 KOs) showed Australia’s Lenny Zappavigna (25-1, 17 KOs) the art of boxing to keep the IBF lightweight title. Vazquez jabbed, moved and fired rights through the Aussie’s guard as he charged hard but kept running into punches. The judges scored it for Vazquez 118-110 twice and 117-111. Zappavigna’s wide flurries couldn’t do the job.
Matt Korobov (14-0, 9 KOs) fired a couple of left handed bombs to take out Chicago’s Mike Walker (19-7-2, 12 KOs) at 1:31 of the first round in a middleweight fight. Walker got up but stumbled into the turn buckle and referee Russell Mora waved the fight over.
Junior featherweight prospect Jesus Rojas (17-1, 12 KOs) slugged it out with Tucson’s Isaac Hidalgo (8-7-2) in a six round junior featherweight clash. Rojas was the bigger puncher and nearly floored Hidalgo in the fourth round but Hidalgo’s chin held up. Both hit each other equally but Rojas had more firepower. All three judges scored it for Rojas 59-55 twice and 58-56.
Notre Dame’s Tommy Zbikowski (2-0) knocked out Kentucky’s Richard Bryant (1-3) with a left to the liver at 1:45 of the first round in a heavyweight bout. The punch had a delayed effect. Ref Russell Mora stopped it.
Heavyweight prospect Eric Molina (17-1, 13 KOs) tore through South Carolina’s Joe Rabotte (9-16-1, 3 KOs) for most of six rounds including two knockdowns. Referee Kenny Bayless finally saw enough and stopped the fight at 1:38 of the sixth round for a technical knockout.
Juan Gonzalez (11-0, 10 KOs) of Puerto Rico knocked out Jeremy McLaurin (8-2, 5 KOs) of Minnesota at 1:56 of the first round of a lightweight clash.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV