Photos by Mike McGuigan
On December 2, 2006 – Top Rank Boxing and the Showtime network came to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City to treat the fans to a night of Welterweight fights, offering four of the divisions very best squaring off against each other in the primary bouts of the evening.
The Main Event was a battle between two highly rated, undefeated Puerto Rican contenders with Miguel Cotto (27-0, 22 KOs) making his 147 pound debut against the highly regarded Carlos Quintana (22-0, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBA title which was recently vacated by Ricky Hatton.
This fight was thought to be a stern test for Cotto to see if he can hang with the big boys in this division. When the bell sounded, this one turned out to be a one-sided shellacking where Cotto branded himself as an elite fighter.
Things started out as expected with the traditionally slick Quintana playing the role of the boxer while the banging Cotto pushed forward, looking to quickly get on the inside.
Quintana would fire off the jabs as his younger opponent approached. His accuracy was decent though the power was not enough to stop the incoming charge.
Early in the fight, Quintana made a decision to try standing his ground to exchange shots with the powerful Cotto. The fans loved it but is was a bad decision as Cotto got the better of most – if not all – exchanges.
The second, third and fourth rounds saw the slippery Quintana frustrate Cotto by throwing the jab and getting out of harms way. The tricky Quintana also began to shoot off the straight left which found its mark on Cotto’s face more times than not. Cotto wanted to bang and occasionally caught his foe but for the most part it was Q slipping and moving.
There is an old saying that pressure bursts pipes. Cotto changed the momentum big time in round five, seemingly have figured his opponent out. Cotto would rip to the body early and often in this round. This set up the opportunity to land hard power shots upstairs. Quintana was hurt but fought back with everything he had. It just wasn’t enough.
Midway through the round, Cotto rocked Quintana with a left hook to the ear and soon after followed up with a precise left to Q’s kidney which sent the older fighter to the canvas grimacing in pain.
To Quintana’s credit – he got up when most would have stayed down. The show of bravado was to no avail as he was quickly dropped again courtesy of a barrage of Cotto rights and lefts which concluded with another left hook to the kidney area.
Winner: Miguel Cotto 5th round TKO who improves to 28-0, 23 ko’s
Cotto told the boxing media after the fight that “I felt I could do anything I wanted to do,”
Quintana was gracious in defeat, admitting that “He was too fast,”
The co feature pitted the WBO 147 pound champion Antonio Margarito against the solid Joshua Clottey of Ghana.
This was a solid, if unspectacular 12 round bout where both fighters looked like they could have fought each other for 25 rounds and not score a knockout. There were a couple of moments of single shot explosions, but overall neither fighter was hurt or in serious trouble at any point in the bout.
“The Tijuana Tornado” was his usual, workman like self sticking to the theme of two jabs – straight right – uppercut or two to the body – uppercut – hook.
Clottey on the other hand had good moment but there were other times where it seems like he would take entire rounds off. Clottey’s best punch was the left hook which seemed to land every time he threw it.
He also landed some nice counters when Margarito worked the body.
This one went the 12 round distance with Judge Eugene Grant seeing it 118-109 for Margarito and judges John Stewart and Paul Venti offering a more reasonable 116-112 in favor of the champion who retains his fraction of the title.
Overall it was a solid fight but I am beginning to believe that Margarito is more hype than ability.
After the fight, Margarito told the boxing media through his interpreter “I’ve been off for ten months, the layoff certainly didn’t
Let’s see him in a unification fight with against Cotto or Luis Collazo.
In other action
Wildwood, NJ Light heavyweight prospect Chucky Mussachio (8-0) sold a good amount of tickets and then blew away ring veteran Tony Pope (13-15) scoring a third round knockout.
Brooklyn Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman got good work over en route to winning a wide 10 unanimous decision over Missouri’s Donnie McCrary.
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