Cotto Schools Malignaggi!

10.06.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Tonight in front of a largely pro Puerto Rican crowd, Miguel Cotto its native son, gave his fellow latinos something else to celebrate besides the upcoming parade. His foe Pauli Malignaggi received a sound thrashing for all the garbage he talked before the bout, and all the posing he did for the cameras.. Interestingly enough now he won’t have to pucker his face, because Cotto gave him the equivalent of a botox injection by breaking the right part of his jaw. The pain didn’t end there as late left from Miguel landed straight on the nose and mouth of Malignaggi making both ooze blood. All in all the fight left a very satisfying feeling for me since I had picked Cotto to win and was happy with the result.

Although the commentators tried to make it seem like Malignaggi was doing pretty well to be honest I was not in agreement. Really after the knockdown in round 2 and the hard punches Malignaggi took in round 1, I think he realized Cotto was not going to get fazed by his pitter pat punches. Malignaggi’s offense then amounted to doing one of two things, where in a: he ran away and threw many fast flashy combos which landed on Cotto’s gloves and did little damage, or b.) ran in looking to tie Cotto down.

In regards to strategy “a,” the only reason the commentators believed that this sort of punching was doing damage was because Cotto seemed drained and thus indirectly seemingly bothered by the punches. In my opinion this was more a matter of him being weight drained, and thus improperly prepared for the fight. Still it is an amazing testament to his dedication that he came in roughly 2 pounds under the limit, visibly dry in the face and still managed to bring the fight to Malignaggi. Late in the fight he regained his wind, and seemingly became more motivated after he busted the rest of Malignaggi’s face and cruised comfortably till the end.

Strategy “b” from Malignaggi was met with excellent inside roughness from Cotto. For one as I mentioned in my infamous Calzaghe Lacy write up, if a guy is there to hold and tie up, the opponent must be ready to get down and dirty. Miguel Cotto seeing as he is such a tremendous fighter, was not going to let his opponent get away with grappling him. In response to these tactics Miguel tried to always twist his arms in such a way as to get Malignaggi off balance, or more importantly he employed the Mayweather Jr. patented forearm to the head, which is a great deterrent to guys looking to put their arms around you and come in to break the action. Sure it may seem dirty, but as I said many times I believe that is the only way to respond, by fighting fire with fire, when the referee does not step in and do his job. By the way I felt Smoger was totally off his game in this respect. Whenever Malignaggi would come in and grapple he would tell him to push off, even though Malignaggi was the one initiating the clinches. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around where Smoger should have told Cotto to push off, or better yet, forced Malignaggi to stop wrestling?

In any case Cotto was clearly the better fighter, even if under prepared to fight at this weight, and I tip my hat off to him for living up to high expectations. Hopefully he will move to 147, where he should be much stronger. As far as Malignaggi as I said I don’t believe he deserves all the “job well done,” kudos he got as he was there mostly to survive, possibly hoping the weight problems for Cotto might pay off late. In any case he does deserve credit as any boxer does, I am just not sure if he deserves that much that we should overlook the events of the fight.


Bobby Pacquio looked relatively better this time around against Kevin Kelley, then in his last outing a blatant robbery win against Carlos Hernandez. It could be that Kelley is old so there can’t be that much stock put into the win. Interestingly enough Pacquio put Kelley away with a body punch but landed a low blow right before that. The referee ruled it a low blow at first it seemed, but once the ringside keeper started counting the referee seemed to change his mind and count out Kelley. To his credit Kelley was more upset that he lost rather then that he was hit low, simply because in truth the low blow was not really the punch that made him go down, but still seeing as the punch was down there, and the ref did call it an “LB” Kelley should have been given a chance to recover. To be honest I don’t think it would have mattered anyway.

Jesus Chavez jr. continued his winning ways by beating up on another relatively unknown fighter with a decent record. This time around the victim in question did come out rather aggressive and for the first round it seemed like he could do something, but all hope of that disappeared when Chavez took the man’s punches and opened up viciously forcing the ref to stop it after the first knockdown of the fight.

Tommy Zibkowski, a Notre Dame football player, made an impressive and quite professional, pro debut by taking out cannon fodder opponent Robert Bell. Tommy Z caught the guy about 40 seconds in, and after he got up on shaky legs and a seemingly strong lack of desire to fight, Zibkowski clocked him with a left that spun Bell completely around and forced the ref to rush in and stop the contest. After the Zibkowski summed up the bout by saying he wanted to show that he was a professional fighter and not simply a celebrity or an athlete trying out boxing.

Thoughts on the Hopkins Tarver fight

Bernard Hopkins made history of sorts tonight in a one sided domination of Antonio “Lazy Man” Tarver to capture the Light Heavyweight crown. Though I did not make an official prediction I was leaning towards a Hopkins victory for the simple fact that I believe Antonio Tarver does not know how to be a champion. While the man does have talent, the problem is he celebrates his victories way too much, and that happened after each of his key wins, which were followed in succession by key losses.

After watching the kind of toll fluctuations in weight take on a fighter the age and talent of Roy Jones Jr., Tarver completely ignored them and followed suit. How can somebody in their right mind, go up something like 40 pounds, and then shed that weight quickly in order to fight of all people fitness freak Bernard Hopkins? PLUS he did at 37 years of age.

Miguel Cotto, a 20 something in the prime of his life, has problems with shedding pounds and yet Antonio Tarver just doesn’t give a damn. Really its pathetic to witness, and it is not surprising that Hopkins made him look goofy. Tarver was sucking wind hard against Johnson and against Jones in the first fight, and he was most likely fitter for those bouts then he was for this one.

This is precisely why its kind of hard to congratulate Hopkins all that much on winning this bout seeing as the calculating business man in him probably planned this all along. Not only did he know that Tarver tires, but also that with Rocky 6 and the extra weight, Tarver would be even worse off. Still I guess for a 41 year old this is a hell of an accomplishment so some praise is due.

Coincidentally, I had no problem in picking the Cotto Malignaggi pay per view over the Hopkins Tarver one, and part of the reason was Tarver’s attitude. Though he probably thought that “no respect” mouth of his would get extra pay per view buys, I simply smiled and became more confident in picking the MSG card. Tarver doesn’t get any respect because like I said I believe he doesn’t know how to be a champion, and also when that is coupled with a huge ego, that makes for one really unappealing character.

Congratulations to Miguel Cotto, Bernard Hopkins and all tonight’s winners, including local Andrey Tsurkan who pulled off an upset stoppage over Hector Camacho Jr.

Article posted on 11.06.2006

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