A Close One In The Apple

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 15, 2009

Boxing Gloves NEW YORK (BASN) – Fighting on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City at Madison Square Garden, Miguel Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) successfully retained the WBO welterweight title by grounding out a 12-round split decision over former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs). The bout was televised exclusively on HBO.

Cotto didn’t disappoint the over 17,000 in attendance. If people didn’t believe that a knockout of Michael Jennings was convincing enough to prove that Cotto had fully recovered from the beating he absorbed during his TKO defeat to Antonio Margarito last summer, a hard-fought victory against Clottey did.

Cotto proved that he can endure and deliver punishment against a quality fighter through twelve rounds. Clottey was the guy no one wanted to fight in the welterweight division and perhaps rightfully so. Clottey’s granite chin, superior conditioning, and good defensive skills made it very difficult to beat him.

The fight against Cotto was a long-awaited, well-deserved opportunity to fight one of the biggest stars in the sport. Clottey even vacated the IBF title without having made one defense because of his desire to fight Cotto. Unfortunately for Clottey, he came up short in what was one of the best fights in all of 2009.

Clottey, to the surprise of many, tasted the canvas off a Cotto left jab at the end of the first round. Clottey returned to his feet and appeared to be unfazed. To add to the drama of what was indeed a very physical, action fight, Cotto suffered a cut above his left eye in round three. In round five, Cotto risked an immediate point deduction or disqualification for slamming Clottey onto the mat.

Both fighters had their moments in the bout. Clottrey would catch Cotto repeatedly with right hands, as blood speud into Cotto’s left eye to block his vision. Clottey’s ability to take punishment may have cost him the decision, as Cotto would unleash sharp combinations that put his challenger in defense mode.

When the smoke cleared, the three official judges at ringside scored the bout 116-111, 115-113 (Cotto), and 114-113 (Clottey).

Klitschko-Chagaev finds U.S. TV home

When David Haye pulled out of a fight with IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko because of an injury, so did U.S. television giant HBO Sports.

Klitschko-Haye was the kind of fight that would have gotten people excited about the heavyweight division once again. Well, at least for one night, because Klitschko-Haye had a lot of hype surrounding two knockout punchers.

HBO pulled the plug when Klitschko (52-3, 46 KOs) had agreed to face WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (25-0, 17 KOs) in front of 60,000 at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on June 20. The bout, significant in the world heavyweight championship landscape, will be aired on ESPN Classic in the U.S. beginning live at 5 pm ET.

Good call!

Klitschko-Chagaev will be Wladimir’s 16th world title fight. Klitschko is 13-2, with 11 KOs in world title fights. Both losses were shocking KO defeats to Corrie Sanders (TKO by 3) and Lamon Brewster (KO by 5) five, six years ago.

Klitschko avenged his defeat to Brewster (TKO 7) in July 2007. The only two fighters to have gone the distance with Wladimir were Chris Byrd (2000) and Sultan Ibragimov (2008). Both Byrd and Ibragimov were southpaws.

Steve Cunningham returns with new trainer

Former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham has been working with boxing trainer Nazim Richardson since March of this year. Richardson was instrumental in guiding Bernard Hopkins’ battering of Kelly Pavlik in October 2008 and Shane Mosley’s bashing of Antonio Margarito in January.

Cunningham is optimistic that Richardson can help him regain the cruiserweight title he lost to Tomasz Adamek in a thrilling fight last year December. Cunningham (21-2, 11 KOs) must first beat former WBC cruiserweight champion Wayne Brathwaite (23-3, 19 KOs) on July 11.

The winner will be the No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger for Adamek’s title. Cunningham-Brathwaite will appear on the undercard of the Vic Darchinyan vs. IBF bantamweight champion Joesph Agbeko.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring,” Cunningham added. “I’ve been dying to fight again since December. The only thing standing between me and the Adamek rematch right now is Wayne Braithwaite, so he’s gotta go.”