Cotto beats up Martinez to win WBC middleweight championship

By Jose Santiago at ringside

In his greatest moment, Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) became the first Puerto Rican boxer to win a world title in four divisions, as he battered WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) for nine rounds on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd of 21,090 at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In a wild round one, Cotto set the tone by knocking down Martinez three times, however the champion survived the round. Cotto continued to violently attack Martinez as the bout progressed. Cotto’s pressure repeatedly pushed Martinez back and he landed almost at will. Martinez was unable to get much going as he was thoroughly outboxed and outpunched by Cotto. Cotto punished Martinez down the stretch. He was credited with a knockdown in round nine when Martinez’ glove touched the canvas. Martinez didn’t come out for round ten. Official time is :06 of round ten.

All three judges had it scored 90-77 for Cotto after nine rounds.

Featherweight “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15 KOs) defeated Wilfredo “WV2″ Vázquez Jr (23-3-1, 19 KOs) via split decision over the course of 10 rounds. WV2 was down in round one. Scores were 96-92 and 96-92 for Sonsona, 96-92 for Vazquez

In a super welterweight war, Javier “La Bestia” Maciel (29-3, 20 KOs), who came in as a late sub when Yuri Foreman abruptly retired, took advantage of the situation by winning a ten round majority decision over Jorge “The Destroyer” Melendez (28-4-1, 26 KOs). Both fighters had their moments in an exciting back and forth slugfest. In round four, Melendez was deducted a point by referee Harvey Dock for a low blow and was later knocked down by Maciel. Scores were 94-94, 96-92, 97-91.

Former middleweight title challenger Andy Lee (33-2, 23 KOs), who is now campaigning as a jr middleweight, scored an exciting come from behind fifth round KO over John Jackson (18-2, 15 KOs). Jackson dropped Lee in round one with a right hand, and landed more heavy blows in round two. After being rocked again in round five, Lee turned things around with a counter right hook and knocked out Jackson. Time was 1:07.

Unbeaten Puerto Rico Olympian lightweight Felix “Diamante” Verdejo (13-0, 10 KOs) scored the fourth first round KO of the night against Engelberto Valenzuela (9-2, 3 KOs). From the opening bell, Verdejo used his speed and power to land shots at will. Valenzuela was outgunned and was facing his first opponent with a winning record. After scoring a knockdown earlier in the round, referee Arthur Mercante called a halt to the action after Verdejo continued to punish Valenzuela. Official time was 1:17 of round one.

Unbeaten super bantamweight prospect Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez (13-0, 10 KOs) won an eight round unanimous decision over Raul Hidalgo (21-11, 16 KOs) as the Madison Square Garden boxing fans were finally treated with a bout that went past the first round. Hidalgo did well in the first as he matched Lopez blow for blow and was able to possibly get the edge on landing the more effective shots on the inside. As the fight progressed, Lopez was able to find his range and used his sizable reach advantage to score, but Hidalgo was game. The pro Puerto Rican crowd did get a bit agitated at the slow pace and booed often. Hildalgo was able to land a few good shots, but it wasn’t enough. Lopez scored a closer than expected unanimous 8 round decision with the scores of 80-72 x2, 79-73.

IBO super featherweight champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (17-0, 11 KOs) scored a first round KO over Arturo Uruzquieta (15-6, 6 KOs) in a non-title fight. From the onset, Pedraza battered Uruquieta with body shots. As Uruquieta tried to protect the body Pedreza moved to head. Two minutes in, Uruzquita couldn’t take anymore of the punishment and dropped to the canvas in his corner. Uruquieta just barely beat the count issued by Arthur Mercante, but Mercante deemed Uruquieta unable to continue at the 2:19 mark of round one.

Super welterweight Willie Nelson (22-1-1, 13 KOs) scored a first round TKO over Darryl Cunningham (29-7, 11 KOs). Nelson used his quick hands and power to dictate the pace. With 1:20 left in the round Nelson laded a straight right that dropped Cunningham. With less than one minute left Nelson followed up with a barrage of shots that dropped Cunningham again. Cunningham was just able to beat the count by referee Eddie Claudio but the ringside physician stepped up to the apron to take a closer look and determined that Cunningham could not continue. Official time was 2:43 of round one.

In the opening bout of the evening 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian flyweight Jantony Ortiz (1-0, 1 KO) made quick work of Mexican Elio Ruiz (1-5, 0 KOs). From the opening bell Ortiz showed his Olympic pedigree by blistering Ruiz with left hooks to the head an body. With a just a little over 1:30 left in the round, Ortiz landed a vicious left hook to the body that sent Ruiz to the ropes. After a quick barrage Ruiz dropped to his knees and did not get back to beat the ten count by referee Ricky Gonzalez. Official call was KO at 1:15 of round one.

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