Cotto looked like his face got run over by a tractor. Readers, should he hang up the gloves, after two straight losses? (Tom Casino)
Miguel Cotto picked the wrong opponent to fight in the main event at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. That was apparent pretty early on, as he was a step behind, in foot speed and hand speed, and had difficulty cornering the slick mover Trout. By midway, Cotto's face started to swell up, and Trout, a legit 154 pounder, didn't wilt from the left hooks and too-few body shots from the Puerto Rican. After twelve rounds, we heard the verdict, and that confirmed what our eyes saw.
Judge Byrd had 119-109, and Poturaj and Weisfeld saw it 117-111, for Trout, who pre-fight told the world he needed a KO to insure the win, but actually just needed to box the way he did pre-Cotto fight to get the job done.
Cotto, as he hurriedly left the ring, indicated that he thought he won. Later, he said, "I was satisfied with the job I did. I will go back to Puerto Rico and think. He was a southpaw, difficult to fight. I felt I did my job, it was a great fight, we fought until the end. I'm thankful to all of my fans who came to see me tonight, there's no place to fight like Madison Square Garden."
There will be massive second guessing on the part of Team Cotto for choosing Trout, though I think it fair not to hammer them. They picked a tough foe, a guy who it is hard to look good against, who deserved a shot. They didn't duck or dodge Austin Trout, and should be commended for that.
The 37-3 hitter out of Caguas, PR was 153.6 on Friday, and the 25-0 New Mexico fighter Trout (age 27) was 154 after dropping trou.
In the first, Cotto, age 32, ate a hard shot which maybe gave Trout the round. Trout moved, his feet and his torso, and was hard to hit in the second. Cotto ended the round with a bang but Trout's quick hands, jab, movement and mastery of the distance troubled him. Cotto tried to close the distance, walk Trout down but the underdog was slippery. The PR fighter did land some left hooks in a tight round. In round five, Trout went low, and was warned. He backed up a ton and I wondered what the judges would think of that. Cotto landed the three best launches of the round, and by now had Trout coming to him. The sixth was tight, once again, but it looked like maybe the two hardest punches of the round were landed by Cotto in the sixith and in the seventh. Trout took the eighth, with smart movement and crisp launches. In the ninth, Cotto turned away, saying he was hit low. Trout worked harder in the round; could Cotto get a second wind? In the 10th, Trout impressed more but then Cotto comboed late. Did he steal the round, or make it even? In round 11, Trout looked fresher. Both men missed a bunch, but Trout trapped Miguel on the ropes and threw. Miguel landed at least two crisp counters. In the 12th, Cotto backed up too much. His face swollen, backpedaling, he sent the wrong message.
Jayson Velez gave Puerto Ricans hope that a PR prospect will pan out as he blasted out overmatched Mexican Salvador Sanchez in 38 seconds elapsed of round three, by TKO, as the ref stopped the scrap. Sal, wearing his Uncle Salvador's trunks from his last fight before he died in a car accident in 1982, was never in it. He went down in the second and was not sturdy in the third. Velez, a Cotto Promotions boxer, won a feather crown.
Danny Jacobs got rounds in and made fellow middleweight Chris Fitzpatrick quit after five. Fitz was durable, and earned his check. Brooklyn's Jacobs, back after cancer nearly felled him last year, took his time, went lefty then righty, and cracked with the right hand. A cut opened on Fitzy's crown in the third but he moved enough and had a hard enough noggin to make it a couple more rounds. Jacobs said after he heard the boos and apologized for being patient. He will be back in the ring on the Feb. 9 show.
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