New Mexico fighters go 4-0 at MSG, as Trout too much for the challenging Cotto

Photo: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

By Nick Bellafatto

Stating that Cotto fans would come to Madison Square Garden “to watch him [Miguel Cotto] pass the torch,” still undefeated Austin “No Doubt” Trout’s (26-0, 14 KO’s) words would ring true, as the Las Cruces native becomes the third fighter of three from the state of New Mexico behind Bob Foster and the late Johnny Tapia to register victories at the “Mecca of Boxing.”


Out-slicking and out-landing Caguas, Puerto Rico’s native son Miguel Angel Cotto (37-4, 30 KO’s) over the long haul, Trout would after twelve completed rounds garner a unanimous decision verdict by scores of 119-109, and 117-111 twice.


Perhaps somewhat closer than the official scorecards had indicated, it was still quite evident that the challenging Cotto in attempting to go 8-0 at “The Garden” was well behind and needed a knockout late in the fight.


Obviously that didn’t happen, as “No Doubt” would handily retain his WBA junior middleweight title, perhaps disrupting Cotto’s future date with Mexican box office draw and WBC 154 pound champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, while simultaneously Trout would make his own case to face this very same fighter in a potential unification bout, a fighter who to this day has managed to circumvent the New Mexico resident.


With Cotto’s best chance at victory quite possibly being to get inside and pressure his much lengthier opponent from the get go, the defending champion wary of this would tie up the Puerto Rican each and every time he would close the gap, thwarting any semblance of such a game plan.


This would seemingly cause Miguel to go into boxing mode midway through where the challenger would find partial success as the underrated boxer he is, running the champion into various scoring counter shots which would have been the very basis to award the Puerto Rican a round or two more.


However, Cotto’s success would be limited, as “No Doubt” would for the most part control range and distance, landing pot shots to in the eyes of those who would bare witness control Miguel Angel who would have been better served by setting a more upbeat pace. Outworking the slick southpaw would have perhaps provided the key to winning out for the challenger.


But for whatever reason Miguel Cotto couldn’t muster enough energy to apply consistent pressure, so that his adversary in successfully defending his WBA title would in Spanish post fight call out ringside attendee Saul “Canelo” Alvarez himself. “Hey “Canelo,” Yo quiero, Tu Quiero “Canelo,” perhaps meaning to say, I want it, do you want it?


In the end Trout had faith in his abilities to pull of the victory. “Man God is good. Miguel Cotto is a great champion, he’s a great fighter, and it’s just an honor to be in the ring with him. And it’s even a greater honor to be the man who defeated him in New York,” stated Trout. “I felt like I was the bigger man and I wanted to prove that and be able to push him back if I needed to. To be honest I had to do what I had to do”


As for Cotto, who would upon the final verdict being read hastily make his way back to the dressing room in obvious disgust at the scoring, he would respond to the question as to whether he would continue to fight by simply stating, “probably.”


Jayson Velez defeats Salvador Sanchez II


In the co-main event of the evening, Caguas, Puerto Rico’s undefeated Jayson Velez (20-0, 15 KO’s) would remain so, stopping an uncharacteristically tentative and lethargic looking Salvador Sanchez II (30-5-3, 18 KO’s) of  Tianguistenco, Mexico at 0:38 of round 3.


In the process Velez would capture the vacant WBC Silver featherweight title, as well as earn a future date with 126 pound WBC titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon.


Despite Sanchez coming in wearing his famous uncle’s trunks and robe, that being Salvador “Chava” Sanchez who 30 years earlier had fought and defeated the great Azumah Nelson at “The Garden” before his untimely death shortly thereafter, it was all Velez.


Jayson after a dominant first round would pick up where he left off in round 2, wobbling and then later dropping his opponent with an assortment of blows near the bell, of which Sanchez would make it back to his stool.


Round 3 would see Velez almost immediately connect with a left uppercut-right hook combination that didn’t seem flush, but would nevertheless floor Sanchez who would yet again rise to his feet.


Seizing the moment, the Puerto Rican would then follow up to land a number of unanswered blows which would prompt referee Harvey Dock to call a halt. “This is an exciting moment, I can’t believe this,” said Velez. “This victory I have to dedicate to Wilfredo Gomez. I’m excited more for him.”


In relation to his opponent Salvador Sanchez, Velez would continue on, “I expected more from him.” And regarding his future showdown with Ponce De Leon, “let’s do another Mexico-Puerto Rico fight. It’s always a war.”


Danny Jacobs stops Chris Fitzpatrick


Recent cancer survivor and Brooklyn native now known as “The Miracle Man,” that being middleweight Danny Jacobs (24-1, 21 KO’s), a man who for the second time in his life had to learn to walk, he would simply control his opponent Chris “The Irish Ghost” Fitzpatrick (15-3, 6 KO’s), causing the South Carolinian to on his own call it quits in between rounds five and six for a TKO victory.


In no danger whatsoever, it was absolutely clear that Jacobs after registering an early kayo in his comeback fight this past October, was trying to get in some rounds in an effort to work on his skill set as well as conditioning.


Stated Jacobs, “I wanted to take my time. The last time around I got a quick knockout and didn’t know if I was 100% back and got the rust out. I’m back as a contender.”

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