Cotto In the Face Of Adversity

25.09.05 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Saturday night in Atlantic City, WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico scored a TKO 7 Win over unbeaten Ricardo Torres of Colombia. Torres replaced Gianluca Branco (36-1-1-19 KO's), who was the originally scheduled opponent.

Round One
Cotto aggressively pressed the action in the first round bypassing the feel-out session. He landed some combinations and a left hook that put Torres down. Torres got up and gave a strong account of his self, using his jab followed by chopping right hands over the top that rattled Cotto more than once. Though Cotto scored a knockdown, arguments could be made that it was a 10-9 round for Cotto since Torres clearly won the second half of the round after the knockdown. I scored it 10-8 for Cotto.

Round Two
Torres knew Cotto was hurt from the first and followed up by banging Cotto with authority. A Torres left hook and partial push caught Cotto and dropped him. The ref counted. Though Cotto was wobbly, he rallied late and landed a few good shots to the body before the bell rang. 10-8 Torres..

Round Three
Cotto landed a low blow and the ref gave Torres some time to recover. After all the fireworks in the first two rounds, the time gave both guys some extra breathing time. Cotto landed good combinations that backed Torres up. A moment later, Cotto landed another low blow and the referee, David Fields, gave Cotto a warning. Cotto outworked Torres, who slipped at the bell. 10-9 Cotto.

Round Four
Cotto effectively worked Torres' body in spite of the warning about low punches. Torres appeared to be baiting Cotto to hit him low so he could get the ref to take a point. After Cotto landed a borderline shot on the belt, Torres (strategically) fell to a knee. Instead of Cotto losing a point, Torres was being counted. It was the right call. 10-8 Cotto.

Round Five
Cotto continued to press Torres, always banging him to the body but Torres came on with a series of vicious right hands that saw Cotto wobbled, but refusing to go down. When in trouble, Cotto either held on or resorted to pushing Torres away from him. Blood was dripping from Cotto's mouth. Arguments can be made that Torres won this round 10-8 since he dominated and hurt Cotto. I scored it 10-9 for Torres.

Round Six
Cotto recovered and was back to pressing the action. Maybe Torres was tired after throwing all those punches in the fifth as he did more running than fighting. Near the end of the round, Cotto landed a straight right that floored Torres again. 10-8 Cotto.

Round Seven
Torres hammered Cotto with a right hand as they boxed. Cotto went back to the basics and scored a combination to the head and body that put Torres down hard in the corner of the ring. The ref counted and Torres didn't make it. It was over. Cotto had won by TKO 7.

Cotto was pure class during the post fight interview; crediting Torres for being a tough opponent and admitting, he still has room for improvement or he wouldn't have suffered the knockdown in the second round. He didn't call anyone out. He never does. I wish he would. Cotto appears more interested in being a good soldier who goes along with whomever his handlers put in front of him than an ambitious Champion who wants to rule the division. His handlers need to recognize that Miguel is in his prime right now, and he should make his move towards unifying the titles if that is his intention and if he is up to the task. Cotto will not be a big star until he faces and beats the big stars out there today.

Cotto should fight one of the other Jr. Welterweight Champions in his next fight. He has been carefully managed long enough and the time is now to rise up with a full heart and face the best fighters in his division. I'm talking about consolidating the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles.

Cotto can go after a rematch with Carlos Maussa (who he beat by TKO 8 back in 2003), to snatch up the WBA Belt. But I'm talking about going after IBF Champ Ricky Hatton and WBC Champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., because in order to be the best, you have to beat the best.

It's terrible that these "Champions" are not forced to face each other. When someone asks who the champion is at 140-pounds, the answer should be one name, not a list of three or four fighters. If Cotto won't go after the other Belt holders, he should at least seek out top contenders, like Kostya Tszyu, Junior Witter, Sharmba Mitchell or even the recently fallen Vivian Harris. If Cotto's handlers want him to be THE Champion, he needs to fight
and beat the Champions.

Cotto vs. Torres was a good fight, decided by the fighters and not the Judges. Against Ricardo Torres, Miguel Cotto faced adversity and rose to the occasion, showing the heart of a Champion. It's high time for Miguel to rise up and take on nothing less than the best the division has to offer. He's ready.

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Article posted on 25.09.2005

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