Miguel Cotto is "Golden" in big win over Abdullaev

14.06.05 - By Mike Indri, Retired Boxers Foundation: On the night when boxing’s once-most potentially gifted and feared fighter, Mike Tyson, hopefully fought the last fight (sixth round loss to Kevin McBride) of his much maligned and tumultuous career; the rapidly rising career of Miguel Cotto, one of boxing’s newest and brightest stars, appears boundless and destined for great things.

Cotto, Puerto Rico’s perennial amateur champion (1997-2000), scored the biggest victory of his young professional career in front of a frenzied, predominately-Cotto, Madison Square Garden crowd. Defending his World Boxing Organization jr. welterweight title against the rugged and very difficult Muhammad Abdullaev, Cotto was facing the same fighter that shattered his Olympic dream at the 2000 Sydney games.

Soundly defeating Cotto, 17-7, in the opening round of the tournament, Abdullaev proved to be the best amateur at the 139 pound level; winning the gold medal for Uzbekistan..

A smaller than anticipated crowd of 10,231 at boxing’s premier venue, witnessed Cotto dominate Abdullaev; banging away with a constant hard jab and combinations as Abdullaev chose to stay right in Cotto’s face and try to force him to the ropes-where Abdullaev was most effective.

With Madison Square Garden now a virtual sea of Puerto Rican red, white and blue, and the resounding "Cotto-Cotto-Cotto" bellowing throughout the historic building, Cotto rose to the occasion in grand fashion.

From the fight’s onset Cotto peppered his aggressive combatant and piled up the rounds during this nationally televised HBO match. Cotto, looking more like a seasoned veteran instead of the raw, talented slugger that was given some trouble by former world champion DeMarcus Corley in his last fight (2/26/05:TKO 5), moved well and appeared in total command.

Midway thru this twelve round championship bout Abdullaev’s reddened face bore the effects of Cotto’s constant pounding and was beginning to swell. Refusing to take a backwards step the gutsy Abdullaev, sensing desperation as this bout was turning into a one-sided affair, mustered all his heart and fortitude in round eight and finally was able to best Cotto for three minutes.

This courageous effort didn’t come without a heavy price as the huge swelling around the right side of Abdullaev’s face and forehead had shut the proud fighter’s eye.

As the opening bell ran for round nine Cotto was on a mission. "I knew he couldn’t see out of his right eye, so I knew I had to hit him there," the classy fighter would say afterwards.

After a barrage of stinging punches by Cotto left Abdullaev with a gruesome Hasim Rahman-like hematoma, the beaten fighter was unable to continue and referee John Callas stopped the bout at :57 of round nine.

To the utter delight of the frenzied crowd, Miguel Cotto (now 24-0 with 20 KO’s) had proved he is for real and has stepped forward as Puerto Rico’s next boxing hero!

"We are now convinced, Miguel can fight anybody," exclaimed Bob Arum; who, as the president of Top Rank, is Cotto’s promoter.

Arum, the consummate promoter that he is, went on, "Miquel is a champion and lives in Puerto Rico, Oscar (De La Hoya) now also lives in Puerto Rico. Why don’t we get them to fight and see who is the "Puerto Rican Champion?"

"We can do it right there in Puerto Rico," excitedly exclaimed boxing’s premier promoter.

A great fight for a truly special fighter who has the path to greatness in front of him. May he have the "right" people along with him for the arduous journey towards boxing superstardom.

On the Top Rank Promotions fight under card…..

In the night’s co-feature bout, Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymulov survived a shaky start, which included a first round knockdown, to battle back and earn a draw against former world champion Joel Casamayor (31-3-1, 19 KO’s) in a WBA Lightweight title elimination bout.

Raiymulov, now 20-0-1 with 12 KO’s, came on strong midway thru the fight and had Casamayor all but out on his feet at the final bell.

A rematch before year’s end is now being planned.

John Duddy, an instant fan favorite, also in his first "Garden party", won an eight round unanimous decision against a very stubborn Patrick Thompson (9-5-1, 4 KO’s) from Lincoln, NE.
I didn’t know if it was Duddy at the Garden or Barry McGuigan fighting in Belfast or Dublin as the crowd suddenly turned Irish!

The Irish chants, the bagpipes and a tenacious Duddy attack were too much for the tough cornhusker who was the first Duddy opponent to survive the fight’s final bell, as the likeable Irish middleweight improved to 10-0,with 9KO’s.

Lightweight prospect Danny McDermott, now 2-0, toughed out the four round unanimous decision against New York’s Alex Matos, who was making his pro debut. McDermott, bleeding heavily from the opening round seems to be following in the footsteps of another popular Main Events promoted fighter during his early days! I’m talking about boxing’s pound-4-pound "most exciting" fighter, Arturo Gatti.

In the night’s lone heavyweight action Victor Bisbal, 3-0 with 2 KO’s, did what he had to do against a severely over-matched and out-of-shape Victor James (1-2). With Bisbal teeing off at will, James decided he had enough and waved the fight off himself, quitting at 1:23 of the second round.

Juan Manuel Lopez looked good in his third round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Eric Nemo (5-1-1, 2 KO’s) from York, PA. The talented super bantamweight from Puerto Rico stayed perfect at 4-0 (3 KO’s).

In a rare female bout, Poland’s Agnieszka Rylik (17-1, 11 KO’s) displayed some serious boxing skills against a game Tawnyah Freeman, from Ft. Smith, AR. who fell to 4-2 with 3 KO’s. The overly talented Rylik dominated, winning the six round contest via unanimous decision.

In the night’s opening bout Wayne Johnsen, (8-0, 5 KO’s) from Lyndhurst, NJ, sent his large following of "Wayniacs" fans home happy with an impressive four round unanimous decision victory. Fighting for the first time as a super middleweight, Johnsen still looked strong and almost had his opponent, James Sundin (6-2, 3 KO’s), out in the very first round as the bell saved the hurt Utah native following a big Johnsen right hand.

A great night of boxing; also great to see former world champions Iran Barkley and Roberto Duran on hand, as well as former champ Bill Costello; who judged the Casamayor/Kid Diamond bout.

Article posted on 14.06.2005

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