Cotto vs. Mayorga
Ricardo Mayorga had flapped his gums so much during the run-up to his championship fight at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino you'd have thought he'd have nothing left. You'd be wrong. Mayorga (29-8-1 23 KOs) never stopped talking and taunting in the ring, even during periods where he was absorbing punishment.
Cotto's (36-2 29 KOs) game plan was to get inside Mayorga whose wild swings can do damage when they land. Damage he did to Cotto who couldn't get out of the kill-zone of Mayorga's reach for stretches of each round.
Nonetheless, he did stick to the boxing style that his trainer Emanuel Steward had promised we'd see. He landed left jabs with consistency to keep Mayorga at bay. His left hooks did their damage over time and it was one of them that put Mayorga on the canvas late in the twelfth round.
Although he got up and began to fight again, it didn't take more than a few seconds for Cotto to land another left jab that staggered his opponent. Mayorga said he couldn't continue at 53 seconds of the final round.
He had sustained a mysterious injury to his left hand, which he had extended and pointed to it after his earlier knock down. When his trainer cut off his left glove after the fight, Mayorga's face contorted with pain. Cotto had won eight rounds, Mayorga three on all three judges' score cards that read 107-102.
Cotto looked hurt and stunned in the seventh round when Mayorga did a lot of damage with power shots and combinations that put Cotto back on his heels, using his right glove to shield the side of his head. But the boxing clinic he put on was too much for the 38 year-old Nicaraguan who hadn't had a serious fight in more than two years.
He defied skeptics who didn't think he'd last long against the more polished Cotto but it's clear that his camp's boasts that he trained hard and was in tip-top shape were true. He only went down once and while it appeared that Cotto's power wasn't enough to stop Mayorga. In the end it was.
Mayorga had boasted that he would KO the champ, take his belt and demand a match with Manny Pacquiao. He also vowed to quit the ring for good if he lost. After the fight, he said he was leaning in that direction. Cotto's career path is sure to include a rematch with Antonio Margarito, who was in the arena watching the action. As for a rematch with the only other fighter to ever beat him, the great Pacquiao, it doesn't seem likely at this juncture.
Foreman vs. Wolak
The match between junior middle-weights Yuri Foreman and Pawel Wolak, (29-1 18 KOs) ended with Foreman (28-2-1 8 KOs) unable to come out for the seventh round after a performance that was not only poor, but surprising. He admitted afterward that the layoff since last June made him feel out of sorts in the ring.
Foreman had lost to Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium in June 2010 during which he blew out a knee. His off-time consisted of major surgery and rehab, along with his training of the past couple of months. It wasn't his knee that troubled him however. It was his inability to jab and move consistently, using his power punches to punctuate the action.
What Wolak saw was a fighter who decided he was going to stay close and trade punches with him. That meant a lot of action for the fans but as the fight progressed you could see Foreman was getting rocked too many times for it to go the distance of the scheduled 10 rounds. Wolak was able to consistently get inside, avoid the worst of Foreman's blows and dictate the action which was fast and furious at times.
Wolak did the most damage in the fourth round when he landed a series of rights to Foreman's head that seemed to go on forever, until he turned to punishing his opponent's body.
Image Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime Sports, with permission Miguel Cotto lands right to the face of Ricardo Mayorga 3/12/11