The Week That Was (October 1-6, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on October 7, 2013
The Week That Was (October 1-6, 2013)
Miguel Cotto is one of the most beloved fighters in recent memory. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

“I should have known better than to relax in the ring against a guy with that kind of power,” Rodriguez would say after the knockout…

Amway Center, Orlando Florida, USA

Cotto, Cotto, Cotto! The boxing superstar resurrects his career with a spine tingling knockout

After an excruciatingly long night of “turrible,” as Charles Barkley would say, fights on HBO, former three-division champion Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) put an exclamation point on the night by crushing former title-challenger Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-3, 16 KOs) in three rounds.

Just miles from the iconic Magic Kingdom at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, the pride of Caguas, Puerto Rico pulled a David Copperfield and waved his gloves at Rodriguez, like a magic wand, making him disappear. As he marched to the ring, without any music, to just the sound of nearly 12,000 fervent partisan fans screaming his name, the scene was created for something special to happen.

Cotto, one of the most beloved fighters in recent memory, was last seen in the ring in December of last year losing a surprisingly lopsided decision to former WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout. It was the second consecutive defeat for him, on the heels of a hotly contested 12-round decision loss to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. After numerous ring wars, many pundits, myself included, were ready to write off the 32-year-old, who looked like a fighter on his last legs. However, after taking some time off, parting with trainer Pedro Diaz and enlisting the services of future hall-of-famer Freddie Roach, Cotto insisted he could recapture his place in the upper echelon of the sport.

Delvin Rodriguez, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and now fighting out of Danbury, Connecticut, was brought in by Top Rank Promotions and Cotto’s team to be a litmus test for the former champion. Rodriguez had shown himself to be a sturdy fighter and fairly skilled professional, who had previously been stopped only once in 37 fights, in the eighth round of a welterweight bout against Jose Feliciano six years ago. Though Rodriguez had never beaten a top tier fighter, he went 12 rounds with then undefeated titleholder Austin Trout in June of 2012 and had beaten a number of fringe contenders. On Saturday night, not only did Cotto pass this test, he aced it.

In the first round, Cotto immediately began viciously attacking the body of Rodriguez as he ripped precise hooks to Rodriguez’s liver and kidneys. By the second round, as Cotto continued to stalk his prey like a hungry wild animal, it became clear that Rodriguez wouldn’t be able to hold up to this onslaught for much longer. Rodriguez, not known for a being a big puncher, was unable to hit Cotto with anything to make him respect his power. With seconds to the go in the round, a stinging left hook almost starched Rodriguez causing his eyes to blink furiously and leaving him dazed.

Just seconds into the third round, sensing his opponent was hurt, Cotto threw a right hand to the solar plexus, then launched another one of his vaunted left hooks that landed just underneath Rodriguez’s chin. The punch stiffened up the Dominican native, forcing the referee to rush over to stop the fight as Rodriguez was crumbling to the canvas.

“I should have known better than to relax in the ring against a guy with that kind of power,” Rodriguez would say after the knockout. Though few expected him to win, it was still a tough loss for the Danbury resident who wasn’t the least bit competitive in the fight. Any thoughts he had of becoming more than just a contender were effectively crushed Saturday night.

“I was trying to make me and everyone happy with my performance,” Cotto told the media after his sensational victory. Cotto teamed up with Top Rank, his former promoter, for this fight, but he remains a promotional free agent. Immediately afterwards, talk began of what is next for one of the biggest draws in the sport. Cotto has routinely sold out Madison Square Garden in New York, even fighting in front of 30,000 plus at Yankee Stadium and despite back-to-back recent losses nearly selling out the Amway Center in Orlando. A fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez would be a huge event, as would a massive rematch with pay-per-view king Mayweather. However, there is another fight that might prove even more appealing to Cotto. “To be the first Puerto Rican to win titles in four weight divisions would be very tempting to me,” Cotto said at the prospect of fighting recognized middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Martinez, set to make his return to the ring in early 2014 from injury, would undoubtedly love the opportunity to fight one of the biggest stars in the sport.

Terence Crawford dominates Klimov in lackluster affair

Terence Crawford (22-0, 16 KOs) probably earned a shot at the lightweight world title when he easily beat Andrey Klimov (16-1, 8 KOs) over 10 insipid rounds. The best thing that could be said about this fight was thank goodness it was 10 and not 12 rounds.

The 26-year-old Crawford, from the boxing hotbed of Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the brighter young stars in the sport, though he did nothing to enhance his reputation following this domination. You can place much of the blame for this bad fight on the passionless Klimov who refused to take any risk. Before the 10th round his corner pleaded with him to fight hard and not lose like a “coward.” That says all you need to know about Klimov’s performance.

Crawford, who is able to seamlessly switch between southpaw and orthodox fighter, was simply too skilled for the limited Klimov. The Nebraska native outboxed the Russian-born fighter, as he used his quick feet and fast hands to befuddle his foe. Klimov apparently didn’t see any openings, so he refused to let his hands go as he averaged a pitiful 29 punches thrown per round. It’s hard to win when you throw that few punches as a heavy hitting heavyweight, it’s almost possible when you weigh 135 pounds as Klimov does. As early as the second round, the Amway Center crowd booed the lack of action. Unfortunately for them the next seven rounds were somehow just as horrible.

Klimov, who earned the fight by winning a decision over the hard punching John Molina in June of this year, will hopefully never be seen on American television again. Crawford is the mandatory challenger for WBO titleholder Ricky Burns’ belt and could face him in early 2014. If Crawford is to become a star his promoter Top Rank is going to have to avoid the Klimovs of the world.

Undefeated Jayson Velez earns a decision victory over Dat Nguyen in a slugfest

Seizing the opportunity to make a name for himself in front of a packed house on the HBO untelevised undercard of Cotto-Rodriguez, featherweight Jayson Velez (21-0, 15 KOs) won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Dat Nguyen (17-3, 6 KOs).

Velez, from Caguas, Puerto Rico, like his countrymen and mentor Miguel Cotto, had the largely Puerto Rican crowd screaming in the first round as he and the Vietnamese American Nguyen traded bombs. The crowd enthusiastically cheered throughout the hotly contested fight, as neither fighter was willing to back down. Nguyen scored the only knockdown of the fight when landed a crisp one-two combination that forced Velez’s glove to touch the canvas. Both fighters had their moments, but Velez dished out more punishment than he received. At the end of 10 rounds of scintillating action the elated crowd gave the fighters a standing ovation. The final scores were 99-91, 96-93 and 96-93 in favor of Velez.

It was a valiant effort by Nguyen, who probably isn’t championship material but could provide tough competition for top fighters. At only 25 years old, Velez hopes to one day become the pride and joy of his country like Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad and many other great Puerto Rican fighters who have preceded him. This fight was a pretty good start.

2012 Puerto Rican Olympian Felix Verdejo stops the gutty Eyer in two rounds

San Juan native, lightweight prospect Felix Verdejo (8-0, 6 KOs) brutally stopped Gary Eyer (11-4, 7 KOs) in two violent and bloody rounds.

Verdejo, a blue chip prospect with star written on him, dispensed with the too tough for his own good Eyer with ease. Verdejo was able to showcase his full arsenal of punches, as Eyer stood in front of him and provided an easy target. Eyer’s nose was bleeding profusely just seconds into the second round, which forced the ringside doctor to be called in to examine him. Eyer insisted he could continue, but he didn’t last long. A vicious Verdejo combination ended with a left hook that staggered Eyer and gave the referee the perfect opportunity to stop the contest at two minutes and 53 seconds of the round. Very nice victory for Verdejo, who looks to return to action before the end of the year.

Olimpiyskiy, Moscow, Russia

Klitschko retains his heavyweight titles in a horrible fight with Povetkin

If it weren’t for two compelling college football games that served as an alternative to this HBO Saturday night rebroadcast, boxing fans might have been put to sleep before Miguel Cotto’s awesome performance. Recognized heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs) pushed, grappled and punched his way to a convincing victory over mandatory opponent, WBA “regular” titleholder Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18 KOs).

Watching Klitshcko and Povetkin wrestle for 12 rounds was akin to watching the Charlotte Hornets play the New Orleans Pelicans. It was sloppy, boring and painful to witness. Povetkin, the former standout Russian amateur who captured the 2004 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medal, was suppose to be the cream of the crop of a weak heavyweight division outside of the dominant Klitschko brothers. After this unsightly one-sided thrashing, I doubt most fans want to see who the second best challenger is.

Klitschko, aided by his jackhammer jab, six-inch reach and four-inch height advantage and an incompetent referee was able to keep the hard charging Povetkin at bay. Klitschko would throw a combination, then grab onto and push down Povketin at will. In the first few rounds Klitschko employed this “strategy” more times than I can count. The 241-pound Klitshcko would pull his opponent close to him, after firing off punches, and then lean onto Povetkin’s neck placing all of his weight on the smaller man. Referee Luis Pabon was completely ineffective as the third man in the ring. Either he was clueless to what was going on or he was corrupt. Maybe I was delirious from watching this awful display of the sour science but it seemed like Pabon nodded his head at Klitschko in the fourth round after the Ukrainian champion once again pushed down Povetkin’s head after an exchange. The HBO announcing crew correctly complained about Klitschko’s tactics most of the fight.

When there was any sustained action in the fight, Wladimir clearly got the better of it, though Povetkin did have a few moments. The latter was very aggressive early on, as he used an occasional jab to get in, followed by lunging hooks that clearly made the champion uncomfortable. Klitschko actually suffered some bruising during the fight. However, by the later rounds Povetkin appeared tired and listless, probably from the punches he absorbed and having a man the size of Wladimir draped over top of him most of the fight.

Klitschko nearly finished his opponent in the seventh round as he scored three knockdowns, one of them very questionable, and landed some of the cleanest punches of the night. The rest of the fight resembled the first half, which means downright ugly. Klitschko was deducted a point in the 11th round for pushing Povetkin but the final outcome had already been decided.

Povetkin’s face was red and bruised and his right eye was practically closed by the end of the fight. For the 12-round beating, he received a payday in the neighborhood of six million dollars. He earned every bit of that. Klitschko garnered a career high payday of close to 18 million for his performance. He and his brother Vitali have cleaned out the division over the last 10 years, beating every viable contender, some even twice. Despite being the best heavyweight in the world it marked only the second time HBO has broadcast one of Wladimir’s fights in recent years. The other time, a 12-round unanimous decision over the impotent, bigmouth David Haye in July of 2011, was almost as unwatchable as this fight. Unless prime Mike Tyson magically appears, the Povetkin fight was probably the last time the network will broadcast one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in the history of the sport. It’s safe to say, Americans won’t shed a tear.

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York USA

Sadam Ali beats tougher than expected Krupp in front of hometown crowd

More than three thousand energetic fans turned out on a Monday night to watch Brooklyn native Sadam Ali (17-0, 10 KOs) record his first victory under the Golden Boy promotional banner over Jay Krupp (17-6, 8 KOs).

In the Golden Boy Live, Fox Sports 1 main event, Ali, who was raised in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn by Muslim Yemeni immigrants, returned to the ring after a one-year hiatus. Sadam previously promoted himself in local Brooklyn shows, without the support of network television, where he garnered little recognition. However, after signing with one of the top promoters in the sport and showing he can draw his hometown fans, Ali is now set to possibly make a name for himself.

His dreams of one day winning a world title were almost derailed in the first round when the unorthodox Krupp dropped him with a lunging left hook. Krupp surprisingly landed a number of clean shots over the course of the fight, but Ali’s precise boxing and speed were too much for the unknown. Hopefully for Ali’s sake, he got hit as much as he did because he was rusty from the time away from the ring, as color commentator Paulie Malignaggi insisted. Ali almost finished Krupp with seconds to go in the final round as he dropped him to the canvas, but was unable to finish him.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Cotto vs Rodriguez (Full Fight) Мигель Котто - Дельвин Родригес

Jayson Velez vs. Dat Nguyen

Felix Verdejo vs. Gary Eyer

Wladimir Klitschko VS Alexander Povetkin,Full Fight 05.10.2013

Sadam Ali vs. Jay Krupp- 9/30/13

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  1. Ted 07:42am, 10/11/2013

    BUT, Was Cotto that good or was D-Rod that bad?

  2. Mike Casey 07:26am, 10/08/2013

    Ah, the weekly wrap-up from trusty Teron - as reassuring as checking all the football results in one place!

  3. bk don 04:06am, 10/08/2013

    You can’t take away from Klit’s accomplishments. The number of defenses of his titles and the dominant fashion in which he’s won has been incredible. However, you can’t tell me that wasn’t an ugly fight on Saturday. The amount of clutching, grabbing and pushing was beyond absurd. I’m still not that mad at klit b/c he was doing what he felt he needed to win, even if it made it a horrible fight to watch. The referee didn’t do his job and that’s pretty discouraging b/c the fouls were pretty blatant.

  4. Ted 06:44pm, 10/07/2013

    Ali was whipped by 197-pound Leon Spinks (6 wins) when he was younger than Wladimir

  5. FrankinDallas 06:39pm, 10/07/2013

    Dat Nguyen used to be a pretty good linebacker for the
    Dallas Cowgirls.

  6. Ted 05:00pm, 10/07/2013

    K’s are easily the most underrated heavies.

    Vitali Klitschko has 45 wins in 47 fights.. Never behind on points.. Never knocked down.. 42 years old and still Heavyweight Champion.. Lost only on severe cuts, and because of a shoulder injury—but ahead on points both times… Beat Juan Carlos Gomez, 44-1… Tomasz Adamek 44-1… Chris Arreola 28-0… Manuel Charr 21-0… Larry Donald 39-2… Herbie Hide 31-1… Timo Hoffman 22-0… Vaughn Bean 42-2… Kirk Johnson 34-1… Corrie Sanders 39-2…Sam Peter 30-1… and Albert Sosnowski 45-2…

    Wladimir Klitschko has 61 wins in 64 fights.. Only behind on points only once to Corrie Sanders.. Beat Lamon Brewster easily in rematch.. Beat David Haye, Alexander Povetkin, Sam Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Lamon Brewster, and Hasim Rahman.

  7. Ted 04:38pm, 10/07/2013

    Klit-Pov was not all that bad to watch if you are a Klit nuthugger. He decked the guy 4 times, won 119-104, controlled every second of every round, exhibited strength by pushing the Russian all over the ring , is now won 61 (KO 51) + lost 3 (KO 3) + drawn 0 = 64, and has held the crown since 2006. He has not lost since 2004. As far back as 1997, he was beating guys with 84-18-1 records.

    For Klit haters, it’s easy to jump on him, but the numbers don’t lie.

  8. Ted 04:31pm, 10/07/2013

    Nguyen always comes to fight. Dat is for sure!

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