Judah no match for Cotto

cotto11.06.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: In the lead-up to the highly anticipated match-up between Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah, I pondered what I considered to be a very important question pertaining to this bout: Is Judah smart enough to beat Cotto? Having witnessed their bout this past weekend, there is no doubt, the answer is a resounding no; Judah clearly wasn’t smart enough for Cotto.

Judah looked good in the first round and was able to take advantage of Cotto’s typically slow start. After that, it was all down-hill for Judah. He simply didn’t have any answers for Cotto’s relentless determination. The shame in all this is, had Judah fought a smarter fight, not only could he have been more competitive, but he may have even had a chance at winning. The biggest mistake Judah made was not taking advantage of an obvious weakness which should have been exploited.

Time and time again, Cotto was wide open for lead left counters. On several occasions, Judah found the openings and unleashed with crisp lead lefts down the pipe. Each time he did this, he stopped Cotto in his tracks. Amazingly though, it appeared as if Judah didn’t even realize he was landing these punches, let alone hurting Cotto. This was a disastrous mistake by Judah. To be fair, it didn’t appear his corner emphasized this, but even still, were Judah a smarter fighter, he’d have figured this out on his own and taken advantage of it early-on in the contest.

Another mistake Judah made was not taking the full five minutes when he found himself on the receiving end of two of the most vicious low blows since Andrew Golota squared off against Riddick Bowe over ten years ago. It didn’t appear as if Cotto was intentionally going low, but either way, he landed two crushing shots well below the beltline with the second resulting in a point deduction from referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. Judah appeared to be in tremendous pain after each crushing shot, but then stubbornly (as is often the case), he opted not to take the full five minutes. It never ceases to amaze me how many times fighters refuse to take the full five minutes after getting hit low.

Judah is essentially a rhythm fighter who was never able to find his groove. Cotto’s relentlessness was simply too much for Judah; Cotto was all over him, never allowing him time to establish any sort of rhythm. This caused Judah to lose focus and confidence, as evidenced by the fact he was continuously complaining to the referee instead of concentrating on the menacing foe before him. Bitching and moaning is a trademark for Judah when things aren’t going his way, and things couldn’t have gone any worse for him than they did against Cotto.

Cotto methodically beat the fight of Judah, winning practically every round on the scorecards. Despite blood pouring profusely from cuts on his brow and his lip, Cotto’s assault seemed to gain steam with each passing round. In the eleventh round, he dropped Judah with a wicked right hand. To his credit, Judah rose to his feet (although, it’s interesting to note that he got up too quickly, much like he did against Kostya Tszyu some years back; I guess that’s another lesson unlearned). Cotto then unleashed a barrage of punches which prompted Mercante Jr. to stop the fight. Incidentally, I thought Mercante Jr. did an outstanding job as the third man in the ring.

With this victory, Cotto should be able to land a mega-bout in the not-too-distant future. Possible opponents include the likes of Floyd Mayweather, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, or Antonio Margarito. Time will tell.

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Article posted on 11.06.2007

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