Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Showtime’s Boxing Showcase Provides Another Memorable Night At The StubHub Center

Over the last decade one of the most popular Boxing venues has been the StubHub Center (Formally the Home Depot Center) in Carson, California. A venue that has played host to several of the sport’s memorable battles in recent years including two of the epic series of fights between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez, Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, and Marcos Maidana vs. Josesito Lopez just to name a few. The StubHub Center has certainly earned it’s place as a big time Boxing venue.

On June 21st the Boxing world again focused it’s attention on the StubHub center for a card that featured two storylines, three former world champions beginning their road back into contention and two former top amateur standouts meeting for a vacant world championship.  The card televised by Showtime and it’s sister channel Showtime Extreme had a good balance of intrigue and the element of the unknown.

In addition to four fights centered around those two storylines the night’s action began with a Heavyweight bout. Undefeated American prospect Dominic Breazeale would face veteran Darvin Vargas.

Breazeale, who entered his fight against Davin Vargas unbeaten in ten professional fights with nine of those wins coming by knockout could eventually see himself as a contender down the road.  On this night Breazale would be given a test by a “Game “ Vargas who was more than willing to stand and engage with Breazeale. Despite his willingness to engage with Breazeale and landing more punches than any of Breazeale’s previous opponents, Vargas was unable to nullify Breazeale’s offense suffering a knockdown in the second round from a right hand before the fight was stopped by Referee Thomas Taylor in round three. Official time of the stoppage was 2:26 of round three.  

This should be looked at as another step in the development of Breazeale. An impressive performance against a fighter in Vargas who did provide somewhat of a test. A question that will be asked of Breazeale and those who handle his career as he progresses will be how soon will he be put in against a battle tested veteran.  It can be an interesting conundrum for those who handle a fighter to determine when he should move up in competition. It will be interesting to see where Breazeale goes from here as he looks to advance up the Heavyweight ranks. 

The first former world champion to compete on this card would be former three-time Light-Heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson. Dawson, who was fighting for the first time since suffering back to back knockout losses to Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson faced veteran George Blades in a Cruiserweight fight.  As I said in previewing this card the questions that Chad Dawson would have to answer would be what effect did those two knockout losses have on him and whether there would be any ring rust after being out of the ring for one year.

Those questions however, would not really have much of an opportunity to be answered as Dawson made short work of Blades dropping him with a left hook to the body and then knocking Blades down again for the count with a right hand to head. Official time was 2:35 of the first round.

Although George Blades was unable to provide much resistance for Dawson in Dawson’s return to the ring, the win for Dawson was probably something that restored his confidence after suffering those two setbacks to Ward and Stevenson. It will be interesting to see if Dawson chooses to remain as a Cruiserweight going forward or if he will opt to return to the 175lb. Light-Heavyweight division. 

The first of two Welterweight fights on this card would then take center stage as former two-division world champion Devon Alexander squared off against former NABF and WBC Continental Americas Welterweight champion Jesus Sotto Karass. The key to this fight in my eyes was whether or not Alexander would be able to avoid Soto Karass by out boxing him for the entire fight or whether Soto Karass’ pressuring style would force Alexander into a brawl.

The story of this fight was Alexander’s ability to use his lateral movement to keep Soto Karass from being able to get into a consistent offensive rhythm. Despite being pressured by Soto Karass from the outset, Alexander’s movement and quick hands dictated the fight.  Although Soto Karass was able to have success gradually as the fight progressed, he was unable to really limit Alexander’s movement in my view and Alexander’s ability to get his punches off was the difference in a fight that Alexander would win a ten round unanimous decision.  I unofficially scored the fight 97-93 for Alexander.

Even though I felt Alexander quicker hands and movement allowed him to box his way to victory, it was an entertaining contest to watch where both fighters were willing to engage. Despite losing the fight Jesus Soto Karass as always showed his toughness and should still be considered a dangerous opponent for anyone in the Welterweight division. 

The world championship fight on this card, a bout for the vacant WBO Featherweight world championship was a fight where quite frankly I did not know what to expect. It is true that Boxing is a sport where one should always expect the unexpected. In regard to this fight however, an argument could easily be made for either fighter having an edge over the other.

Would it be the greater professional experience of the number one contender Gary Russell Jr. who entered the fight undefeated in twenty-four professional fights or the skill and amateur pedigree of two-time, two-division Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko who, despite competing in only his third professional fight is considered as perhaps the greatest amateur in the history of the sport with an incredible record of 396-1, and who was already making his second attempt at a world championship.

Although some may have had the opinion prior to this fight that neither Russell or Lomachenko had really established themselves professionally to get an opportunity to fight for a world title, it was nevertheless an interesting fight. Despite having quick hands, Russell was not able to dictate the pace of this fight, but Lomachenko’s pressure that set the pace that this fight was fought.

Even though Russell was throwing more in volume, Lomachenko’s ability to slip much of his opponent’s offense and execute his own offense by catching Russell in exchanges was the difference in this fight. There were rounds however, during the course of this fight that were difficult to score because although Lomachenko was the more effective fighter in my opinion based on his solid defense and landing the cleaner offense to both the body and head, Russell was the more active of the two in terms of punches thrown, which I felt made some of the early rounds close. It was clear as the fight progressed however, that Lomachenko was in control of the fight and that is what led to him winning this fight clearly in my eyes at the end of the twelve round championship bout. Unofficially, I scored this fight 117-111 or nine rounds to three for Lomachenko.

Despite what appeared to be a clear win for Lomachenko, there was a mild controversy with regard to the official scorecards. Judge Lisa Giampa scored this fight a draw 114-114, this was overruled by judges Pat Russell and Max DeLuca who scored the fight 116-112 or eight rounds to four for Lomachenko giving him the victory by majority decision.

Although I do not feel that this fight was a draw, Russell’s activity may have been enough to win some rounds that were close. As I have often said over the years when it comes to scoring fights it can simply boil down to what a judge prefers in their own criteria in how they score based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense. Even though I felt that Vasyl Lomachenko won this fight by doing all of the above, there are those who may have a different opinion based on Russell’s ability to throw in volume even though he was not able to land consistently. A mild controversy regarding the decision, but not a controversy that should be the main story of this fight.

With the win Vasyl Lomachenko has tied the all-time record of winning a world title in only his third professional fight, which was set by Saensak Muangsurin of Thailand who set the record in July 1975 knocking out Perico Fernandez to win the WBC Jr. Welterweight world championship. Although some may have criticized Lomachenko getting two world title shots so early in his career, it is not unprecedented. After winning a world title, Muangsurin went on to become a two-time holder of the WBC Jr. Welterweight world championship after briefly losing the title in 1976 to Miguel Velazquez, and defeating Velazquez in the rematch.

Whether or not Lomachenko will have a long reign as a Featherweight world champion remains to be seen. This observer however, looks forward to what may be next for the new champion. As for Gary Russell Jr. he was not disgraced in this fight and this should be looked at as a fight where he was simply bested by a fighter who on that night was the better. As it will be interesting to see what is next for Lomachenko, The same could be said for Gary Russell Jr. as he looks to bounce back from his first defeat as a professional.

The night’s action would culminate in a twelve round Welterweight fight between former two-division world champion Robert Guerrero and Japanese contender Yoshihiro Kamegai. In previewing this card last week, I stated that this was the fight that could be the fight of the night based on the exciting styles of both Guerrero and Kamegai and their ability to box as well as their willingness to go toe to toe with their opponents. Guerrero and Kamegai would not disappoint anyone on this night.

From the opening bell Guerrero and Kamegai were willing to engage in a fight that saw plenty of back and forth action. It was Guerrero’s combination punching and ability to dictate how the fight was being fought that I felt was the story of the fight. Kamegai however, was very “Game”, very aggressive and continued to press forward. The battle between Guerrero and Kamegai will likely be considered a fight of the year candidate. In short, the fight was a grueling give and take battle where both fighters were able to have their moments. Guerrero’s ability to land punches in combination and generally get his punches off first was the difference in this fight and that allowed him to earn a hard-fought twelve round unanimous decision. Unofficially, I scored this fight 116-112 in favor of Robert Guerrero. The fight was the first for Guerrero since losing to Floyd Mayweather last year. This victory will likely put Guerrero back in world title contention.

 Despite suffering the second loss of his career in twenty-seven professional fights, Yoshihiro Kamegai has established himself as a fighter who should be viewed by anyone in the Welterweight division as dangerous and not someone to take lightly. It will be interesting to see where Kamegai who was rated number seven in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) coming into his fight with Robert Guerrero will find himself in the mix of what is one of the most competitive divisions in the entire sport.

Readers will recall that I stated in previewing this card that the winner of the Alexander-Soto Karass fight could face the winner of Guerrero-Kamegai. A fight between Robert Guerrero and Devon Alexander would certainly be an interesting fight and I can certainly see a fight between the two being made. There are likely however, other options that could be available to either Guerrero or Alexander and I think it will boil down to what happens at the top of the Welterweight division as contenders such as former WBA champion Marcos Maidana, former Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan, and undefeated top contender Keith Thurman all could be potential future opponents for unified WBC/WBA champion Floyd Mayweather. Although an argument could be made that Maidana will be the most likely opponent for Mayweather in a rematch of their battle last month, realistically anything can happen in the Welterweight division and it will likely all depend on who Mayweather fights next that will determine what will likely happen for those fighters. All of them are potential opponents.

All in all, the latest card to take place at the StubHub Center in Carson, California produced a little bit of everything. Former world champions beginning the road back into contention, highly competitive Boxing matches, a new world champion, a rising Heavyweight prospect, a couple of knockouts, and a fight of the year candidate. A card that will likely go down as another in a growing list of memorable nights of Boxing for one of the sport’s more popular venues.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Showtime’s Boxing Showcase Saturday Night

A Boxing card with two intriguing storylines will take place at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Saturday night. The card, which will be televised by Showtime and its sister channel Showtime Extreme in the United States will feature a familiar storyline of former world champions beginning the road back into contention.

Former three-time Light-Heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson returns to the ring after a year layoff against contender George Blades. Dawson (31-3, 17 Knockouts), who is coming off not only a year layoff, but also two consecutive knockout losses to Super-Middleweight champion Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson is what the story of this fight is centered around.

The obvious questions that Dawson will have to answer is what kind of effect has those two knockout losses had on him and whether one year out of the ring will result in any ring rust. At his best, Dawson has the kind of hand speed and power that would make him an obvious favorite in the eyes of many. If however, Dawson has not recovered from those two losses against Ward and Dawson it could present an opportunity for George Blades (23-5, 16 Knockouts), who also comes into this fight off of a knockout loss. Blades was stopped in five rounds by former Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal in September of last year and has gone 2-3 in his last five fights. Although the attention will be focused on Dawson in this fight, it will be interesting to see what Blades has to offer.

This card will also feature two Welterweight fights featuring two former world champions looking to get back in the win column in separate bouts. Former two-division world champion Devon Alexander will return to the ring for the first time since losing his IBF Welterweight world championship to Shawn Porter in December of last year. Alexander (25-2, 14 Knockouts) will face former NABF and WBC Continental Americas champion Jesus Soto-Karass.

This fight is a classic example of a boxer versus a puncher. Alexander, who looks to use lateral movement and quick hands to out box his opponents will likely be in for a tough battle against Soto-Karass, who is a tough veteran and will likely look to force Alexander into a brawl. Soto-Karass (28-9-3, 18 Knockouts) comes into this fight off of a knockout loss at the hands of top Welterweight contender Keith Thurman last December. Soto-Karass has always been very “Game” every time he enters the ring and he will be in this fight for as long it lasts.

The key to this fight in my eyes will be whether or not Alexander can avoid Soto-Karass for the entire fight by looking to out box him. Soto-Karass will likely look to put pressure on Alexander and cut the ring off from the opening bell. The winner of that fight may well be in position to face the winner of the other headlining Welterweight bout on this card.

Former two-division world champion Robert Guerrero returns to the ring for the first time since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in May of last year. Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 Knockouts) entered into that fight having won eight straight fights and there was no question that he had the kind of momentum that earned him the opportunity to face Mayweather, who is considered by many the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

For twelve rounds, Mayweather out boxed a “Game” Guerrero in route to a convincing unanimous decision. Although Guerrero was out boxed by a highly skilled fighter in Mayweather, he is still one of the top fighters in the world in his own right and still a top contender in the Welterweight division. An argument could well be made that Guerrero’s loss to Mayweather was a bad style match up for Guerrero who simply could not find a way to nullify Mayweather’s lateral movement, precision timing, and hand speed.

Guerrero will face former Japanese Junior welterweight and current Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Welterweight champion Yoshihiro Kamegai. Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 Knockouts), a veteran of twenty-six professional fights has only one loss losing a ten round unanimous decision to Johan Perez in June of last year. Kamegai however, who is rated number seven in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has an 80% career knockout percentage and should be viewed as a dangerous opponent for Guerrero.

This could be the fight of the night in my opinion as both fighters have shown the ability to both box and go toe to toe. Much like the Alexander-Soto-Karass fight, this fight could have an impact in the talent stacked Welterweight division. Even though it would seem logical that the winners of these two fights would face each other down the road, it is a division where realistically a number of interesting fights could be made with either of the four. We will have to wait and see what these two fights produce that may shake things up in the Welterweight division.

The world championship fight on this card will be a battle for the vacant WBO world Featherweight championship when undefeated number one contender Gary Russell Jr. meets number four rated contender Vasyl Lomachenko.  Russell (24-0, 14 Knockouts), undefeated in twenty-four professional fights would seem to have an advantage in this fight over Lomachenko who will only be competing in his third professional fight.

Despite an undefeated record, some may argue that Russell has not been tested in his career thus far. Although Lomachenko has only fought two professional fights, winning his professional debut in October of last year, scoring a fourth round knockout over veteran Jose Ramirez and losing a hard fought twelve round split decision to former Featherweight world champion Orlando Salido in his first attempt at a world title earlier this year, it is important to remember that Lomachenko is one of the best amateur boxers in history with an incredible 396-1 record winning gold medals in the Featherweight division at the 2008 Summer Olympics and in the Lightweight division in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Though the odds seem to be in favor of the man who has more professional experience in Russell, it will be interesting to see how Lomachenko looks in his third fight as a professional, now with nearly one year of professional experience. Whether or not Lomachenko can defy the odds by winning a professional world title in only his third professional fight remains to be seen. The fight between Russell and Lomachenko is just one fight that is part of what is an intriguing night of Boxing where anything can happen.

Will Lomachenko defy the odds and win a professional world title in only his third fight as a professional? We’ll find out Saturday night. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Saturday’s Showtime Boxing card begins with Dawson vs. George and a Heavyweight bout between undefeated Dominic Breazeale (10-0, 9 Knockouts) and Devin Vargas (18-3, 7 Knockouts) at 8PM EST on Showtime Extreme.  Guerrero vs. Kamegai , Alexander vs. Sotto-Karass , and Russell vs. Lomachenko will follow the Showtime Extreme portion of Showtime’s coverage on Showtime at 10PM EST.  Check your local listings. 

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Underdog Chris Algieri Now World Champion

Throughout all of sports a common storyline that you will hear discussed among both fans and experts is whether or not an underdog can defeat a heavy favorite. This scenario is quite common in the world of Boxing as it is sometimes referred to as a sport where one should expect the unexpected. The classic scenario of an underdog going against a heavy favorite took place on June 14th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York when WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov made the first defense of his world title against undefeated WBO  number thirteen rated contender Chris Algieri.

It is somewhat ironic that it was not all too long ago when it was Provodnikov who was considered an underdog against both former WBO Welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and former WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Mike Alvarado. Even though Provodnikov lost a close decision in a hard-fought battle against Bradley in March of last year, the “Game” and determined effort he showed in what was a fight of the year candidate turned Provodnikov from an underdog to one of the sport’s rising stars.

Provodnikov was able to rebound and win the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship when he stopped Mike Alvarado in ten rounds last October. Provodnikov’s crowd pleasing pressure style is certainly going to help him secure lucrative fights with several big names in either the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight or 147lb. Welterweight divisions. It goes without saying however, that even the best fighters can have an off night from time to time. This would be the case for Provodnikov when he entered the ring to face Chris Algieri.

Algieri, who entered the fight undefeated in nineteen professional fights as a boxer also entered as a former two-division world champion in Kickboxing, having won world titles in both the Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight Kickboxing divisions. Despite having not lost a fight in either sport, Algieri was considered an underdog going into his fight against Provodnikov. Algieri however, did have the kind of lateral movement, defense and hand speed that I felt could give Provodnikov trouble if Algieri were allowed to make use of those attributes.

Despite coming into the fight as an underdog, Algieri did have solid wins against former world title challenger Mike Arnaoutis and top contender Emmanuel Taylor in his career as a boxer. Based on this and Algieri’s Boxing ability, I did not feel that this would be as easy a fight for Provodnikov as some might have felt.

It was not surprising to see Provodnikov begin the fight being aggressive and looking to impose his will on the challenger. Although I felt that this could be a difficult fight for the champion Provodnikov, I wondered whether Provodnikov starting the fight at such a quick pace would force Algieri into Provodnikov’s kind of fight, and not a fight that is fought at a more tactical pace where the challenger would theoretically have an advantage. The contest seemed as though it may have a quick ending as Provodnikov knocked Algieri down in the first round with a left hook, which caused severe swelling of Algieri’s right eye. Provodnikov would score a second knockdown with a right hand seconds later.

Even though it is not an impossible task for a fighter to come back from a deficit after suffering two knockdowns in one round, what I felt might have caused the fight to be stopped was the condition of the swelling of Chris Algieri’s right eye. In some ways the condition of Algieri’s eye reminded me somewhat of how the late great Arturo Gatti’s eyes would swell up sometimes quickly during the course of a fight.

Although suffering the first knockdowns of his career, Algieri did not seem rattled by what happened in the first round and did not allow the condition of his right eye to change his fight plan. As the rounds went on it was clear that Provodnikov landed the harder punches. It was also clear however, that as the rounds went on the challenger began to implement his fight plan using lateral movement to be an elusive target and looking to get his offense off first before Provodnikov could get set to throw his punches.

In close fights it can be an interesting conundrum for fans who watch a fight as well as experts and more importantly the judges scoring a fight to determine who has an edge. As I have said many times over the years when it comes to close fights it will often boil down to what a judge prefers in their own individual criteria in how they score a fight based on clean punching, effective aggressiveness, ring generalship, and defense.

The challenger was the busier of the two fighters throughout much of this fight throwing combinations and remaining an elusive target. It was clear as the rounds continued that Algieri was taking control.

The challenge for judges who are charged with the task of scoring fights like this is to determine whether the fighter throwing and landing more punches in volume is winning rounds over a fighter who may be out landed, but is aggressive and when he does land is doing more damage. Chris Algieri’s Boxing skills were on full display in this fight and the only questions I had as the rounds went on were whether or not his right eye would be too badly damaged and would cause the referee and/or doctor to stop the fight. Also, if Algieri were to go the distance would the two knockdowns he suffered in the first round be the deciding factor if he were to lose the fight via decision.

Provodnikov’s inability to limit Algieri’s movement where he could get in position to land more frequently was the story of the fight my opinion. Although at the end of the twelve round championship bout I felt that Algieri had done enough to win the fight as I scored it 114-112 in his favor, I was not surprised by the difference in scoring of the three official judges.

Judge Max DeLuca scored the fight 117-109 in favor of Provodnikov. This was overruled by Judges Don Trella and Tom Schreck who scored the fight 114-112 in favor of Chris Algieri giving Algieri the win and the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship. This was certainly not an easy fight to score and even though Judge Max DeLuca had Provodnikov winning this fight by a wide margin, it is understandable how DeLuca could have come up with a score of 117-109, which was the same score as HBO’s unofficial judge Steve Weisfeld. It is important to remember that there were two knockdowns in the first round against Algieri, which gave Provodnikov the round by a score of 10-7, which likely contributed to the scorecard of Deluca.

Although there is likely a difference of opinion as to who won this fight, I do not believe that the outcome of this fight was controversial in the sense that the opinion of the three official judges did not differ greatly with the opinion of both fans and experts as to who won the fight. Instead, I believe this fight was simply one fighter’s aggression against another fighter’s technique and ability to adapt. Even though there may be a difference of opinion as to who won a close fight, there was no controversy.

As for what is next for the new champion Chris Algieri and the former champion Ruslan Provodnikov, I believe both fighters have several options open to them including a potential rematch. For Provodnikov, the loss to Algieri will probably not change his standing as a top fighter in the Jr. Welterweight division and will likely not damage his ability to secure lucrative opportunities in either the Jr. Welterweight or Welterweight divisions. This loss will only help Provodnikov in the long run and should be viewed as a setback.

For the new champion Chris Algieri, he has gone from an underdog to a world champion. Algieri was able to not only overcome adversity, but also showed his mettle in this fight. His performance will likely establish him as a rising star in the sport. Whatever the future might hold, Chris Algieri has established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

The Boxing Truth® is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Look At The Potential Options For Miguel Cotto After Dethroning Martinez

On June 7th the Boxing world turned its attention to New York’s Madison Square Garden for one of the most anticipated fights of 2014. A battle for the WBC world Middleweight championship between two-division world champion, and two-time holder of the WBC Middleweight championship Sergio Martinez and former three-division world champion Miguel Cotto.

Cotto, who was fighting for the first time at the 160lb. Middleweight limit was attempting to make Boxing history by becoming the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four different weight classes. Although Cotto has certainly earned his status as a first ballot future Hall of Famer, it was understandable for some to consider him an underdog prior to the fight. Cotto was after all moving up in weight and was going against a naturally bigger and highly skilled fighter. The basis of those who considered Cotto an underdog was likely based on his losing two out of his last three fights to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout.

Cotto however, was able to rebound by scoring an impressive third round knockout over Jr. Middleweight contender Delvin Rodriguez in October of last year. In the eyes of this observer it was the strength of Cotto’s performance against Rodriguez that secured his title shot against Sergio Martinez, in addition to the obvious name recognition value that he brings to the table for anyone he fights.

Martinez meanwhile, had not lost a fight in nearly five years since losing a controversial decision in his first fight against former Welterweight world champion Paul Williams in 2009. Although undefeated since the loss to Williams, Martinez had been stripped of two world titles that he won against Kelly Pavlik in 2010. Despite being stripped of those titles, many considered Martinez to be the champion of the division.

Martinez regained the WBC title with a dominating twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September 2012. Despite holding status as the number one fighter in the Middleweight division, Martinez had dealt with injuries in his previous two fights prior to facing Cotto, specifically to his right knee. Martinez, had also been knocked down in his previous three outings against Matthew Macklin, Chavez Jr., and Martin Murray. This may have prompted some to ask what the thirty-nine year old Martinez had left to give as a fighter.

Even though Martinez had suffered some injuries in recent years, he was still a highly skilled and extremely athletic fighter with the ability to knock opponents out with perfectly timed precision counter punches. If Martinez were fully recovered from his injuries and were able to make full use of his lateral movement, I felt that it could have been a difficult task for Cotto to overcome. This however, would simply not be the case.

Cotto badly staggered Martinez with a left hook in the first round that eventually led to Martinez being knocked down three times in the round. Quite frankly, I was surprised that the fight was allowed to continue after the third knockdown. It reminded me of the first fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004 where Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round and the fight was allowed to continue. Following those knockdowns, Marquez was able to make a comeback and by the end of the fight there were some who felt he had won the fight in a contest that was officially scored a draw.

Unlike Marquez however, it was clear once Martinez got hit with the first left hook by Cotto, which set off a barrage that led to the first knockdown that Martinez did not have his legs and it surprised me on that basis that the fight was allowed to continue. Although I was surprised, I give Martinez all the credit in the world for showing his mettle and fighting on through adversity.

This fight can be best described as a champion suffering a beating, but who was always “Game” and tried to find something to turn the fight around in his favor. Simply put, for nine rounds Miguel Cotto consistently pushed the champion back and punished Sergio Martinez with a systematic attack. Following Cotto being credited with another knockdown in round nine, Martinez’ trainer Pablo Sarmiento stopped the fight at the start of round ten to prevent his fighter from taking further punishment.

A dominant and career defining performance for Miguel Cotto as he wins a world title in a fourth weight class. Following the fight I commented on Twitter that I applaud Sergio Martinez for the heart and courage he displayed in this fight. Some fighters perhaps justifiably would have resigned to defeat after suffering the knockdowns Martinez suffered in the first round even though the fight was allowed to continue. When a fighter faces a significant deficit in terms of points due to knockdowns as Martinez did early in this fight, it is an extremely difficult task to come back from. Despite being out boxed and on this night outgunned by Cotto, Martinez gamely fought on and deserves all the credit he receives for the valiant effort he gave in defeat.

After a dominant performance, some interesting possibilities could be in store for the new champion Miguel Cotto. Some readers may recall in February I brought up the possibility of the winner of Martinez-Cotto potentially facing the hottest rising star of the Middleweight division in the undefeated WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin.

There is no doubt in my mind seeing as Golovkin and Martinez seemed to have been on a collision course for a potential fight in the near future that the most logical option for Cotto, the man who defeated Martinez should be to face the man that many consider the future of the division. Golovkin however, must first defend his unified world title against former two-time Middleweight world champion Daniel Geale next month at Madison Square Garden.

Depending on the outcome of that fight and assuming that Golovkin is victorious in what would be his eleventh consecutive title defense, it would clear the way for a fight with Cotto that would not only be a significant marquee pay-per-view draw, but also a potential fight of the year candidate. Geale however, is not someone to underestimate and in his own right could be a potential opponent for Cotto at some point.

If a fight between Cotto and the winner of the upcoming Golovkin-Geale fight is not in the immediate future there are other options for Cotto. One option might be top contender Andy Lee, who scored a sudden come from behind fifth round knockout over Jr. Middleweight prospect John Jackson on the undercard of Martinez-Cotto. Even though that fight took place at the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight limit, I believe that Lee would welcome another opportunity at a world championship after previously coming up short against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012. The recently crowned IBF Middleweight world champion Sam Soliman could also be considered as a potential option for Cotto after defeating former champion Felix Sturm in their rematch.

There could also be the possibility of Cotto facing the winner of the upcoming Jr. Middleweight bout between former Jr. Middleweight champion Saul Alvarez and Erislandy Lara. If the current landscape of the business aspect of the sport allows Cotto to face the winner of that fight, without contracts between rival promoters and television networks playing a role, I can certainly see it as a viable option for Cotto. I do however, believe that it is unlikely that Cotto will relinquish his Middleweight title in order for that fight to take place. If there is a possibility for Cotto to face the Alvarez-Lara winner, I believe that the winner of the fight will move up to challenge Cotto at the 160lb. Middleweight limit, or the fight could take place at a possible catch weight where the WBC Middleweight world title would be at stake.

No matter what Miguel Cotto decides to do next, he certainly has plenty of options to consider. Even though there may be some who may say that Cotto defeated a fighter in Sergio Martinez who may have been on the decline, I disagree.

In my opinion Cotto’s performance against Sergio Martinez was a demonstration of why Cotto has been one of the sport’s central figures for much of the last decade. Whether or not Martinez’ previous injuries were any factor at all in the fight, you simply cannot discredit what Cotto was able to accomplish.

As for Sergio Martinez, he appeared as though he may have been nearing retirement after his victories over Chavez and Murray. Whether or not the defeat to Cotto will signal the end for Sergio Martinez as a boxer, I would like to again applaud Martinez for his courage. If this is the end for him as a fighter we all should salute him on a fine career and what he has brought to Boxing.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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