Cotto Wins a Classic Fight at The Garden

miguel cotto(Miguel Cotto, seen here apologizing to Zab Judah after landing a low blow in the 1st round) 11.06.07 - By Nick Mathur: Last night, Miguel Cotto was victorious over Zab Judah in a competitive, high action fight that has every making of a rematch. While Cotto was hurt numerous times during the bout, he was able to accumulate a substantial amount of damage on Judah with a consistent work rate and body attack.

Cotto was well in control during the later stages of the fight, and referee Arthur Mercante had decided that it was in Judah’s best interest to stop the fight in the 11th round, giving Cotto a hard earned victory that skyrockets his standing on both the welterweight rankings, as well as the overall pound for pound list. Judah gave a good account of himself despite being on the losing end of this contest.

He took an incredible amount of punishment from Cotto, but did not quit and was able to land many hard shots on Miguel that had him a wobbly at times. Everyone wondered what kind of effort Zab would be capable of putting forth at this stage in his career.

He had not scored a win in his last three bouts coming in, one of them a no contest, and had functionally fought less than one round inside a ring in the last fifteen months. Last night, he showed a level of toughness that we hadn’t previously seen from him, and he proved that he still has the talent to be considered one of the top fighters in the division.

During the first and third rounds, Cotto hit Judah with a hard low blow after being hurt by combinations. Miguel has no real history of using these tactics when he has been hurt in the past, and both incidents seemed accidental. However, Judah seemed hurt by them both times, and dropped to the canvas in agony on the second occasion, which resulted in the referee taking a point away from Cotto. Cotto is a very hard puncher, and I have no doubt that Zab was hurt the second time. To his credit, he demonstrated more professionalism than the previous incarnations of Zab Judah, who have been known to throw stools and incite melees in the ring. He never retaliated after being hit low, aside from swinging wildly at Cotto when the action resumed and showing his fighting spirit.

Both fighters sustained cuts during this bout, and the front of Miguel Cotto’s trunks became a bloody mess as a result of a deep cut inside his mouth. However, it never seemed to disrupt his concentration, as it was Judah who took a knee after a barrage from Cotto in the 9th round. Judah’s eye was cut and swollen at that point, and it seemed as if he went down because it was bothering him so much, as well as to clear his head. However, Cotto had accumulated a remarkable amount of punishment on Zab at that point in the fight.

Cotto looked tired during the tenth, which was understandable when considering how good his work rate was during the fight. But he dropped Judah in the eleventh with a combination, a left uppercut being the most effective punch in the sequence, and a follow up barrage resulted in Mercante stopping the fight. Cotto looked ecstatic afterwards, and the heartbroken Zab was consoled by his father/trainer Yoel Judah.

Some may have felt that the stoppage was slightly premature, although Zab himself did not complain about it afterwards. He instead cited the two low blows he sustained as something that took a lot out of him, which is understandable. It is surprising that Zab Judah, a fighter who is disliked by many for being too brash and cocky, was actually a figure that boxing fans were probably sympathetic towards. He withstood a serious beating from Cotto, but showed serious heart and was still able to land many hard punches that kept him in the fight.

Zab’s most effective punch was the lead left uppercut, which he utilized beautifully as he split Cotto’s high guard and landed it flush many times. I, personally, have said in the past that Judah possesses very good power and speed, but was not a good finisher. In this case, I have to admit that if Cotto was not one of the most calm, composed fighters in the sport, he may very well have been in serious trouble if unable to avoid follow-up combinations after being hit hard.

Taking into account the entertaining undercard fights and spectacular main event, this cannot be considered anything other than a great night for boxing. I also have to say that the pay per view, at $30, was modestly priced by today’s standards. Although a broke college student like me can still rarely afford to indulge in them, even if he matchups are particularly interesting to me.

Even after being hit almost 300 times, Judah mentioned afterwards that he would love a rematch, and would even agree to go to Puerto Rico. I would welcome a repeat of such a dramatic, action-packed fight, and hope that it happens eventually. And if not, bring on the best fighters at welterweight- Mayweather, Mosley, the winner of Margarito v. Williams, and let’s see what Miguel Cotto can do against them. He has done enough to deserve mention among the top fighters of the division, as well as placing himself as one of the current ten pound for pound best in all of boxing.

Article posted on 11.06.2007

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