Cotto vs. Corley leaves a black eye on Puerto Rican boxing
By Ric Solivan, (February 28, 2005) 
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by Ric Solivan on 02-27-2005

Before I give you my account of this fight, I would like to express my personal opinion in saying that referee Enrique Quiñones Falu should have his license revoked for his inexcusable performance tonight, which has left a black eye on the island’s pugilistic reputation. Furthermore if the Puerto Rican boxing commission and World Boxing Organization stand idly by and instead of seeking some answers on the poor officiating Saturday, it will be shameful decision that will likely hurt the prospects of big fights taking place on the island. Falu’s inexcusable stoppage of this excellent fight was a clear example of why our sport is held in such poor regard by the mainstream public and opens the door to the vast number of naysayers to affix an asterisk next to the knockout win Miguel Cotto was perhaps to obtain if the fight had continued.

It started as usual with Cotto coming in to a raucous reception by the more than ten thousand in attendance at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum. A very serious Cotto walked in with what has become the defacto standard in music on the island, “Reggaeton” which was quite the odd choice for the usually traditional Cotto.

One thing that was apparent from the go was Cotto’s over aggressiveness, which he displayed as he walked around the squared circle, could it have been the home crowd factor? Was it yesterday’s breakdown at the scales? We may never know. Anyhow the very focused and angry Cotto looked dead into the eyes of his veteran opponent with such disdain during the pre-fight instructions that if looks could kill, Corley would have been six feet under in Bayamon.

R1: Cotto came out very aggressive and went to work on the body of “Chop Chop” who is surprisingly meeting him in the center of the ring until at the 2:26 mark the elusive southpaw is clubbed down to the canvas by a Cotto right. The veteran rises and straightens himself out, but shows a look of discomfort as he sets of to tangle the pumped up Cotto who throws a large variety of punches on his opponent but cannot put away his seemingly hurt foe, Instead we see Corley land two shots that buzzed Cotto, one at the 1:40 mark, the other with 00:40 left.

R2: Corley comes out somewhat pawing his jab to confuse Cotto in the second round and finds himself getting tagged by the WBO champion, who is uncharacteristically keeping his hands low and getting hit cleanly enough by the Washington D.C. native to keep the fight interesting. Things began to go wrong with a “Bizarre” episode that takes place when Cotto lands an unintentional punch, which was agreeably south of the border, However instead of the expected warning the “Referee” instead calls for a point deduction after what seemed like an eternity spent trying to figure out what to say to the challenger.

The crowd is just as perplexed as Corley who wisely takes advantage of the horrific call to regain some of his senses. After the short break Cotto begins what would be his first of a few mistakes to be made tonight in overestimating the power of “Chop Chop” as he casually walks down his opponent with his guard down and gets hit with a nice left hand by Corley for his disregard. The shots taken should have awakened Miguel, but clearly did not as we would find out minutes later. However both combatants continue to trade… even after the bell rings to end the round. Inexplicably both fighters are allowed to return to their respective corners without a peep of warning from the ref.

R3: Perhaps overconfident from the edge he has had over his opponent in the first two rounds and a reported 17 pound weight advantage, Cotto continues to uncharacteristically slug it out with Corley with his guard low and is caught with a spectacular right cross right on the temple that hurts the young man badly. You could see the shocked faces of everyone gathered as Cotto’s legs turned to Spaghetti and appeared on the verge of being knocked down. However the wounded Cotto wisely tied up briefly and evades Corley by utilizing some effective movement as his means of survival, ultimately succeeding in his efforts. Slowly Cotto regains his senses and begins to fire back, landing a solid left-right combination on the advancing Corley which stopped his foe dead in his tracks.

R4: The fight is now at a fever pitch, but Cotto wisely came out both restrained and focused reinstating his normal peek-a-boo defense which has served him well in his previous bouts to regain control over Corley with more compressed and deliberate punches. Corley for his part also settled down and was more economical with his punches, although he was launching them with authority. With Cotto now feeling his legs solidly under him, he begins to land power shots again and stuns “Chop Chop”.

At the 1:14 mark Corley verifies that Cotto is wearing a protective cup when he lands an unintentional low blow. The blow clearly bothers Cotto for a second or two but quickly indicates to the official that he is ready to resume, but wait… seeing as how Cotto and Corley are now even in low blows… hey! why not even up that point deduction business? Well that is exactly what Enrique Quiñones Falu must have thought when he deducted a point from DeMarcus again without prior warning. Somehow Enrique must have felt better about his dubious call on Cotto by correcting his mistake with another one just as bad!

Anyhow, The fight continues following the short break and Cotto rocks Corley again with some powerflul blows, “Chop Chop” manages to land another crisp right on the jaw of Miguel who takes it well and fires backing return to close the round.

R5: Miguel is now looking to hurt Corley’s frame and fires shots accordingly. Corley pops Cotto with a right but instantly gets hit in return. Things are now looking good for the WBO champion and get even better at the 1:44 mark, when he rocks Corley with a huge left hook that wounds “Chop Chop” on the ropes. Miguel seizes the moment and unleashes a trademark barrage of punches that force themselves through Corley’s guard. The savage number of shots continue and Corley finds himself on dire straits on the ropes, this after being sent there by force from the other side of the ring.

A perfectly placed left hook on the top of the beltline knocks the wind right out of the former world champion, who goes down low but does NOT touch the canvas, Cotto pops him once more and one of Corley’s gloves finally touches the mat. Enrique Quiñones Falu ignores the complaint of being hit while he is down from DeMarcus and proceeds t administere a standing eight count.

Cotto viciously throws everything but the kitchen sink as soon as his foe is set loose to engage him again following the knockdown and manages to corner’s “Chop Chop” for what would the final time, Corley who was still stunned from the previous load of punches, found himself in trouble, deep trouble… so he does the smart thing and takes a knee… the crowd is on their feet and await a standing eight just like the rest of us, Corley even smiled as Cotto was pulled away as if to say to his young rival “hey you got me good, but I’m not done yet.”

Sadly Corley’s opportunity was inexplicably taken from him without merit or reason, by an incompetent official whom on this night acted like a novice. Instead of being afforded the benefit of the doubt like all fighters of his stature should be afforded, Corley was given an unflattering and unprofessional exit in a bout that still had at least another round or two left in it. However i must note one observation that stuck with me, and it had to do with the way Corley reacted to the stoppage. You would think that he would have been livid over the finale, especially since he was still doing well enough to stay conscious, right? Wrong! because curiously enough Corley did not complain like a man who had just had the rug pulled from underneath him, leading me to believe that in a way he was relived things worked out the way they did, after all his standing in the sport certainly has now gone up.

The other victim here Miguel Cotto was left high and dry by Mr. Enrique Quiñones Falu who took away from him, what would have been an inevitable and legitimate career elevating (T) KO victory. As a result you will see some unscrupulous industry analysts place a mental asterisk on this performance and will certainly pen articles that affix a question mark over Miguel’s head. The sad part is that all these things will be said regardless of the FACT that Cotto WAS going to send Corley to the showers earlier than most expected, perhaps the sixth or seventh round but we will never know for sure.

In closing I would like to make two points number one, Cotto must be given absolute credit for having the skills, mindset and fortitude to survive and retaliate in his toughest round ever. The young Boricua showed off some testicular fortitude instead of clutching his opponent for dear life for the rest of the round like most others would, and instead opting to do it in traditional Latino fashion, a.k.a the hard way.

Point number two is that DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley must be commended for his standing toe-to-toe with Miguel and exposing some of his weaknesses, a fact that I’m sure Cotto will take to heart when he resumes training for his planned June return. Corley is a world-class fighter who deserves another title shot, which if the WBO cared would see him receiving an immediate rematch, this time with a referee who is capable of handling a heated world championship contest.

Both men will put this moment behind them and go on to other fights, although I really doubt that we will see a rematch. For Cotto tonight’s wake up call will serve as a significant reminder of the unpredictable nature of this sport and should serve him well as he looks to tackle the elite 140 fighters. Corley will likely get another spoiler opportunity which based on his tremendous performance tonight could see a title shot as a result should it be a lesser fighter.
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