|Cotto Makes Easy Work of Gomez, Margarito Stops Cintron Again
By Gabriel Montoya (April 13, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Miguel Cotto, 32-0 (26), continued his unbeaten streak against former Contender star Alfonso Gomez, 18-4-2 (8). It was an impressive display of a variety of skills from the Puerto Rican fighter in what turned out to be essentially a sparring session.
Cotto came out in the opening stanza fast, throwing hard hooks and pistoning in a jab. Gomez seemed much slower than Cotto as he missed repeatedly and found it hard to get in range with his inferior
footwork. The strength and quickness advantage was evident as Cotto moved about the ring, and switched from orthodox to southpaw, attacking with ease.
In the second, the outclassing continued and Cotto scored his first knockdown of the night although on replay it appeared to be a missed call from the referee.
Uppercuts and left hooks were on tap in the third as Cotto seemingly landed whatever he threw. A right by Gomez didn’t bother Cotto at all and the champion answered with more brutal shots of his own. An exchange at the bell left Gomez on the canvas from a left hook to the body. With the “can’t be saved by the bell in any round” rule in effect, Gomez beat the count and survived.
In the fourth Gomez began trying to crowd Cotto but that only worked to showcase the Puerto Rican’s inside game as he broke Gomez down to body and came back with shots upstairs.
The fifth and final round saw a very measured and cautious Cotto use a lot of movement to frustrate Gomez as he punished him with hard shots to the head and body. A jab from Cotto caught Gomez coming in and he tumbled backwards on the seat of his pants.
It was deja vu all over again for Kermit “The Killer” Cintron, 29-2 (27), when he faced off against the only man to ever beat him, Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito, 36-5 (26), Saturday night in Atlantic City. Cintron came into the bout on a 5-fight winning streak and with the IBF version of the welterweight title and had seemingly improved from the green fighter that faced Margarito in the spring of ’05. But appearances can be deceiving and Cintron displayed the holes in his game that plagued him the first time around. Margarito, was coming off a loss of his WBO belt and a tune-up against Golden Johnson and many (this writer included) questioned whether he was on the decline. He showed tonight at least, that age and ring wear and tear are not a factor in his game.
The bout began much like the first. Cintron working behind the jab and trying to land his right hand behind it. A right uppercut seemed to clip and caution Margarito but the Mexican warrior pressed on. Looping right hands and hard body shots by Margarito kept Cintron backpedaling. Two rights by Cintron landed, but as in the first fight, Margarito took them well and appeared to egg The Killer on. By round’s end, Cintron turned up the heat and the fight was more than on.
Margarito continued the pressure in the second round but unlike round one where Cintron kept his distance, this time Cintron let him on in the kitchen and Margarito began to unload. It wasn’t all accurate but the cumulative effect, both mentally and physically was what the fighter was banking on. Two rights off a jab by Cintron were met with two more in answer from Margarito, who trapped Cintron trapped on the ropes but he slid off before Margarito could capitalize. Margarito crowded Cintron and unleashed left hooks upstairs. An uppercut by Margarito snapped Cintron’s head back but he took the shot well. Cintron was unable to get his distance in this round and was getting outworked on the inside.
Between rounds, the referee warned Margarito for hitting low. When told of this, Cintron asked him to watch the behind the head shots. From my seat couchside, I hadn’t seen any blows like that at all.
An uppercut, right hand by Cintron punctuated the beginning of the third. Cintron was letting his hands go. Margarito, who was still unfazed by the power punching Cintron, landed a solid right. Cintron retaliated with a right hand body shot followed by good one-two. An uppercut by Cintron was met by the same from Margarito. Margarito was cut by a punch over his right eye in this round but it was never a factor. Two hard shots by Margarito kept Cintron honest, who was trying to keep distance before a pair of stiff body shots bent the IBF titleholder in half and inexplicably, the ref stepped in to warn Margarito about hitting behind the head after Cintron complained. Cintron appeared to be unraveling or, at the very least, on the verge.
Cintron began the fourth jabbing but Margarito kept the pressure on with a jab of his own. A right hand by Margarito was matched by an uppercut by Cintron, who went on to land a right hand. Margarito’s iron chin failed to take a dent and he swallowed up everything that Cintron had to offer. Cintron continued to do well at long-range, but was languishing on the inside and getting killed. A right hand by Cintron was answered by a blistering one-two by Margarito. Another two big rights by Margarito and it was obvious Cintron was running out of answers.
Margarito’s guard was much tighter to start the fifth and Cintron looked to break through it with a series of right hands that land. Margarito landed two of his own but Cintron continued to throw right back. Margarito landed two lefts in rapid succession, with Cintron cut badly in the same spot he was against Margarito in their first fight. The momentum is so in Margarito’s favor that something dramatic would have to happen for Cintron to get in the fight.
In the sixth round Cintron looked to be in a bad spot. Perhaps sensing the end, Cintron kept looking to the referee for help while getting hit in the process. He appeared to be in that most important and dangerous of places for a fighter: the moment of truth. But before Cintron can answer any of the questions that may or may not have been going though his head, Margarito landed right hands and left hooks to the head and body that sent the defending titleholder into the ropes. A right hand to the head followed by a brutally perfect shot to the body dropped Cintron to the canvas, and there he remained for the ten count.
With the wins, Margarito has reached his goal of getting a title again and secures a July unification bout with Cotto that will effectively determine who the number one welterweight in the world is.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com
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