Judah no match for Cotto

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.

Cotto Wins a Classic Fight at The Garden

miguel cotto(Miguel Cotto, seen here apologizing to Zab Judah after landing a low blow in the 1st round) 11.06.07 - By Nick Mathur: Last night, Miguel Cotto was victorious over Zab Judah in a competitive, high action fight that has every making of a rematch. While Cotto was hurt numerous times during the bout, he was able to accumulate a substantial amount of damage on Judah with a consistent work rate and body attack.

Cotto was well in control during the later stages of the fight, and referee Arthur Mercante had decided that it was in Judah’s best interest to stop the fight in the 11th round, giving Cotto a hard earned victory that skyrockets his standing on both the welterweight rankings, as well as the overall pound for pound list. Judah gave a good account of himself despite being on the losing end of this contest.

He took an incredible amount of punishment from Cotto, but did not quit and was able to land many hard shots on Miguel that had him a wobbly at times. Everyone wondered what kind of effort Zab would be capable of putting forth at this stage in his career.

He had not scored a win in his last three bouts coming in, one of them a no contest, and had functionally fought less than one round inside a ring in the last fifteen months. Last night, he showed a level of toughness that we hadn’t previously seen from him, and he proved that he still has the talent to be considered one of the top fighters in the division.

During the first and third rounds, Cotto hit Judah with a hard low blow after being hurt by combinations. Miguel has no real history of using these tactics when he has been hurt in the past, and both incidents seemed accidental. However, Judah seemed hurt by them both times, and dropped to the canvas in agony on the second occasion, which resulted in the referee taking a point away from Cotto. Cotto is a very hard puncher, and I have no doubt that Zab was hurt the second time. To his credit, he demonstrated more professionalism than the previous incarnations of Zab Judah, who have been known to throw stools and incite melees in the ring. He never retaliated after being hit low, aside from swinging wildly at Cotto when the action resumed and showing his fighting spirit.

Both fighters sustained cuts during this bout, and the front of Miguel Cotto’s trunks became a bloody mess as a result of a deep cut inside his mouth. However, it never seemed to disrupt his concentration, as it was Judah who took a knee after a barrage from Cotto in the 9th round. Judah’s eye was cut and swollen at that point, and it seemed as if he went down because it was bothering him so much, as well as to clear his head. However, Cotto had accumulated a remarkable amount of punishment on Zab at that point in the fight.

Cotto looked tired during the tenth, which was understandable when considering how good his work rate was during the fight. But he dropped Judah in the eleventh with a combination, a left uppercut being the most effective punch in the sequence, and a follow up barrage resulted in Mercante stopping the fight. Cotto looked ecstatic afterwards, and the heartbroken Zab was consoled by his father/trainer Yoel Judah.

Some may have felt that the stoppage was slightly premature, although Zab himself did not complain about it afterwards. He instead cited the two low blows he sustained as something that took a lot out of him, which is understandable. It is surprising that Zab Judah, a fighter who is disliked by many for being too brash and cocky, was actually a figure that boxing fans were probably sympathetic towards. He withstood a serious beating from Cotto, but showed serious heart and was still able to land many hard punches that kept him in the fight.

Zab’s most effective punch was the lead left uppercut, which he utilized beautifully as he split Cotto’s high guard and landed it flush many times. I, personally, have said in the past that Judah possesses very good power and speed, but was not a good finisher. In this case, I have to admit that if Cotto was not one of the most calm, composed fighters in the sport, he may very well have been in serious trouble if unable to avoid follow-up combinations after being hit hard.

Taking into account the entertaining undercard fights and spectacular main event, this cannot be considered anything other than a great night for boxing. I also have to say that the pay per view, at $30, was modestly priced by today’s standards. Although a broke college student like me can still rarely afford to indulge in them, even if he matchups are particularly interesting to me.

Even after being hit almost 300 times, Judah mentioned afterwards that he would love a rematch, and would even agree to go to Puerto Rico. I would welcome a repeat of such a dramatic, action-packed fight, and hope that it happens eventually. And if not, bring on the best fighters at welterweight- Mayweather, Mosley, the winner of Margarito v. Williams, and let’s see what Miguel Cotto can do against them. He has done enough to deserve mention among the top fighters of the division, as well as placing himself as one of the current ten pound for pound best in all of boxing.

Cotto Serves Brutal Notice to the Welterweight Division

By Taj Eubanks, June 10, 2007 - Last night’s highly-anticipated war between Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah was so explosive that it seemed more head-on train collision than welterweight showdown. While Judah (perpetually criticized for a myriad of past misdeeds) gave a good account of himself, it was Cotto who ruled the night.

miguel cottoCotto displayed the dimensions that have endeared him to fans and boxing insiders alike—a sledgehammer body attack, an inability to take a single backwards step, and an apparent indifference to pain. Make no mistake about it, Judah unleashed his own bombs on Cotto last night, but it was not enough.

One thing was resoundingly clear Saturday night: Cotto is for real. His brutal artistry is both exciting and terrifying to watch. Every shot was thrown with bad intentions and Judah’s face bore witness to the destructive trade that Cotto plied. The star of Judah is now (in the opinions of most) in its final descent, while Cotto’s star has gone supernova.

The emergence of Miguel Cotto as the most exciting superstar of the welterweight division has brought a division that is more crowded than the Los Angeles jail system to the boiling point. Futures will be decided in coming weeks as Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron and others seek to place their own stamp of supremacy on the division. “Sugar” Shane Mosley, the elder statesman of the lot, finds himself waiting in the wings for his turn to grapple with these young lions, all of whom are on the road that ultimately leads to the ruler of the division, “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

As the stars line up, Cotto finds himself at the very nexus of their convergence. His proposed fight with Margarito (should he emerge victorious over Paul Williams) is sure to provide more sparks than a welding shop as neither man knows the meaning of retreat. And it can be argued that the winner of this match should be considered the best welterweight in the world, an argument that can only be settled by Mayweather emerging from his self-imposed “retirement” to prove the naysayers wrong.

As for Zab Judah, it now seems that his time has finally run out. His outstanding talent and valiant effort notwithstanding, Judah has now entered a phase of his career in which brutal self-honesty is required. Winless in his last four outings, his deficits now outnumber his positive attributes, the biggest deficiency being his lack of a Plan B when his initial strategy fails. For example, Emmanuel Steward repeatedly commented throughout the fight that Judah was successful with the straight left but that he just needed to throw it with more frequency. Judah got no such advice from his corner, only repeated instructions to throw more punches in combination. While Cotto’s assault had a great deal to do with Judah’s decreased offensive output, his retreat to a defensive shell is classic Judah, true to form since the Baldomir and Mayweather fights. Where Judah goes from here is anyone’s guess.

As for the rest of the division, it is a good time to be a welterweight. It is a great time to be a fan. And with the lay of the land before him, it is a wonderful time to be Miguel Cotto.


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