Jennings Feels the Wrath of Puerto Rico
By JD Camacho at ringside for (Feb 23, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
It was a night of comebacks and steps forward inside the Garden.

The cheers for fallen champion Jose Torres after the ceremonial ten-count had only just faded away when a lady in blue climbed into center ring to sing “God Save the Queen,” the anthem of the English Michael Jennings’ homeland. Without warning and without provocation, the poor lady and the proud anthem sunk underneath a cacophony of jeers from the beer-swelling Garden denizens. The symphony of
negativity deafened to an almost laughable extent.

A Briton, waving the Union Jack in defiance, led his countryman to the ring. Michael Jennings skipped through the ropes as his flag bearer laughed at the hostile audience. The hostility turned to positivity when Miguel Cotto, adorned in new tattoos, arced his body and entered center stage beside an enormous Puerto Rican flag that dwarfed its British cousin. Even though Jennings stood over Cotto during the pre-fight instructions, the tables would turn soon enough.

From the opening bell, Jennings glued his elbows to his stomach to defend against Cotto’s famous body assault. Cotto, behind his earmuff defense and several push jabs, appeared back to his old self in the ring. Jennings’ movement and clinches along the ropes stifled much of the action for the first three stanzas, but Cotto’s counter jabs frustrated his game opponent.

Jennings alternated between pumping and flicking the jab, but Cotto responded to each with subtle retreats and a power jab of his own. By the fourth, Jennings apprehension bubbled to the surface as his legs wobbled from a Cotto counter left hook. Once the apprehension took hold, Jennings succumbed quickly to Cotto’s body rips and dropped to a knee. Shaken, Jennings rose only to crash to the canvas again from Cotto’s blows. He escaped the round, but the end was nigh.

Jennings faced a wave of aggression in the fifth, and he began to drown. Cotto’s combinations had swept Jennings under, and another knockdown prompted referee Benji Esteves to call a halt to the bout at 2:36 of the fifth round.

Miguel Cotto claimed he wanted whomever the public wanted next, be it Shane Mosley, the Hatton – Pacquiao winner, or another. Judging by his performance, Miguel Cotto has put his loss to Antonio Margarito behind him and has returned to form. Whether or not he returned to top form remains a question for the future.

He may have comeback, but it’ll take a top fight against a top opponent before Cotto can really put his best foot forward again.


Jamaican heavyweight Lenroy Thomas 11-1 (7) defeated woefully out-of-shape Terrell Nelson 8-8 (5) in four rounds behind a good southpaw jab and decent close combat ability.

Hector Marengo 5-0-2 (3), fought to a deserved draw with super featherweight Angel Rodriguez 3-2-1 (2), who took two of four rounds with solid in-fighting – much to the dismay of Marengo’s Puerto Rican fans.

Super Bantamweight Jorge Diaz 8-0 (5) netted a unanimous decision against Ghana’s Lante Addy 6-4 (4), ending the bout with an action-packed sixth round where Diaz forewent his athleticism and exchanged with the tough but limited Addy.

Kina Malpartida 9-3 (2) overcame a first-round knockdown to win eight straight rounds and a final round knockout over then-undefeated WBA Women’s Super Featherweight titlist Maureen Shea 13-1 (7).

Pawel Wolak 23-1 (16) sloppily walloped perennial fall guy Norberto Bravo 27-17-3 (15) to score a knockout win in three rounds at super welterweight.

Russian Olympian Matt Korobov 4-0 (4) overcame a perpetual chorus of boos to earn the crowd’s respect with a fourth round stoppage of overmatched Brooklynite Cory Jones 4-5 (1) in a 160 pound bout.

Popular Irish middleweight John Duddy 26-0 (17), while winning nine straight rounds on two judges’ cards, survived a final round barrage from durable Matt Vanda to retain his undefeated record. New trainer Pat Burns has shortened Duddy’s punches and noticeably improved his head movement and footwork.

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