Cotto + Seventeen Pounds + Falu = Defeat For Corley

27.02.05 - By Wray Edwards: A really bad omen immediately preceded the prize fight between WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto and his challenger Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley. Referee Enrique Falu lost control of the fighters during the pre-fight meeting at the center of the ring. Falu either had them, or let them touch gloves too soon, and both boxers backed away just as Falu was trying to give final instructions. He mumbled a few words and decided to give up..

Some of the pre-fight commentary dwelt on Cotto’s SEVENTEEN POUND weight advantage. Though they alluded to the possibility that this might give Cotto an unfair advantage, the HBO crew passed up the opportunity to condemn this despicable and glaring oversight by the WBO and the Puerto Rican Commission. As this was a “championship” contest, it should seem anomalous to most that they allowed a true 140 pound Jr. Welterweight (Corley’s actual weight at fight time) to enter the ring against a man just three pounds shy of Middleweight.

FASHION COMMENT: So Corley steps into the ring wearing a leather helmet with round, dark eye lenses, ten or twelve antennae, and a black mask, looking like an alien space bug, to the universal boos of 12,000 Cotto homies. He looked like the aliens in Rowdy Roddy Piper’s movie “They Live”. It was just slightly weirder than the silver “gladiator” masque worn by Willie Gibbs just prior to his bout with Daniel Edouard.


ROUND ONE was a pretty good sample of how the evening was going to go for “Chop Chop”. Cotto came out strong using his formidable weight advantage to push Demarcus around the ring. Miguel was making some pretty good connects at about twice the rate for Corley. At 2:33 Cotto threw a flick-grazer of a left which did nothing to Corley, who (2:32) plants a medium right to Miguel’s chest as Cotto brings a left hook at the ducking Corley. The glove passes behind Corley’s head and Cotto’s left, inner wrist hooks the back of Corley’s neck as Miguel pulls through and down.

There were two very obvious components to the “punch”. When Cotto’s glove contacts Corley’s head with minimal force, it is obvious in slo-mo that the momentum of Cotto’s arm is stopped, and then he forces his wrist against Corley’s head and neck to push him down.

At this point Corley’s left leg was out of position and he lost his balance briefly touching the inside of his left ankle and knee to the canvass. Referee Falu rushes in and sends Cotto to a neutral and gives the clear-eyed, completely unaffected Corley a totally bogus eight-count. Without hesitation Larry Merchant remarks: “I don’t believe Corley is hurt”. That was a massive understatement as Cotto had not done any more than yank Corley to his knee with his wrist. There was absolutely no KD.

About 1:42 Miguel really did pop Corley for sure. A short right on the chin button folded him back and as Demarcus missed a left cross chest punch Miguel left-cracked Corley in the left ear as he fell away to his right followed by a Cotto straight right which missed. Corley was in the most trouble here than at any other time in the fight. (1:32) Corley ducks down, lunging forward as Cotto pushes him behind the head with his right and pulls Corley through the ropes with his left behind Corley’s arm. Merchant then gives back the point he earned earlier by saying “They could have called that a KD when Corley went through the ropes” He was pushed. Enrique got that one right.

All through the first round Lampley praised Cotto’s performance completely failed to remark on many really crisp shots delivered by Corley. Finally, with eight seconds to go the two fighters got tied up in the corner and as the ref moved in with his hands on both fighter’s chests, Cotto fired a left uppercut to Corley, right under Falu’s right arm and Demarcus answered with a left.

Throughout the fight there was much hitting on breaks and after the bell as well as many low blows. Whenever the ref took away a point, he did not seem to know how to do it. Usually, the guilty party is arrested and walked around facing each judge for the deduction. Enrique did just the opposite as he held the victim during the penalty process.

ROUND TWO was pretty much back and forth (though Cotto hits after the bell), whereas ROUND THREE included the closest approach to a knockout which occurred during the fight. At 2:26 Corley makes a really heavy body-shot left to Cotto’s ribs, 2:25 Miguel throws medium left to Corley’s body and BANG Corley pops a big right which staggers Cotto to his right. They sparr around and Cotto, woozy and looking to clinch, grabs Demarcus (2:20) around the neck and shoulders and hangs on. Many people in the background crowd are seen reacting in horror to Cotto’s obvious troubles.

Demarcus tries to get free and resume his attack. They fight around a bit and (1:52) Miguel hangs on again, still unsure. 1:17 Cotto clinches again, still having problems getting back up to speed. ROUND FOUR had Miguel pretty much collected and there were low blows and Cotto again hit after the bell. It did not appear that Enrique warned Cotto even once about his post ding-dong hitting. Falu certainly did not warn successively for low blows. He just took points for those he saw.

ROUND FIVE was the frame in which Cotto began to take his time and be less reckless. At one point (0:46) Miguel drove a right between Corley’s guards, with good effect, followed by a vicious left to the same rib button which Gatti found on Dorin. Corley winced, clutched his elbow to his side and squatted down. Demarcus takes the eight and goes back for more. 0:22 Cotto misses a big right (Corley ducks), a big left (Corley ducks), a big right (all glancing or no contact) and Corley takes a knee.

Referee Falu interprets this as resignation and waves off the fight. Corley, clear-eyed and spry, hops to his feet to object; too late. As fans cheer and the whole Showtime crew scoffs and complains about a “hometown stoppage”, the fight is over. This writer would have given Corley a four out of ten chance to continue and prevail so the outcome was generally in Cotto’s favor, but Demarcus deserved a “professional’s chance” to give it another go. It was an OK fight considering the absurd weight differential. Corley did very well under this adversity and will certainly be back.

As for Cotto, he appeared quite vulnerable to Corley’s speed, accuracy and power, even with his weight advantage. He certainly did not show the kind of dominance which might bode well for him in front of Floyd, Zab or Arturo. These are the opponents he should be facing anyway at 147. It was pretty much a “travashamockery” to put these two together at all. Add that to the rather iffy performance of Enrique Falu and we have a general mismatch fighters and officials.

Article posted on 27.02.2005

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