In a fight that went the way many boxing fans had probably imagined it would go, Miguel Cotto earned a close decision win over Joshua Clottey.
What boxing fans never want however, is for some unforeseen occurrence to spoil what could otherwise amount a near perfect fight between two highly competitive athletes in the most glamorous division in the sport.
There were two such occurrences.
The Puerto Rican Star sustained a nasty cut above his left eye as a result of an accidental head-butt and the Ghana native seemed hurt after he fell face-down to the canvas with a thud when Cotto attempted to shunt him off after the two got tangled up near a corner.
Had these been two lesser men the fight would probably have been called early, but to their credit, both combatants fought bravely on and gave spectators a pretty good show.
After a back and forth struggle, Cotto won a fight that was in reality, much closer than the final tallies on the official scorecards would indicate. One judge scored the fight 115-112 in Cotto’s favor while another had it 114-113 for Clotty.
The third judge however had Cotto winning 116-111, a total that ringsiders and fans alike feel was the least true of the three.
The truest score for this fight would have been 114-113 for Cotto, the difference being his first round knockdown of Clottey. Even a draw would have been acceptable, but 116-111 in favor of either fighter seems way off. It was that close.
This was the kind of fight that can spawn a trilogy to establish which of the two really is better. The inconclusive ending cries out for a rematch, which is exactly what Clottey said he wants. He deserves one because despite coming up short on the scorecards he fought well enough to earn it.
As for Miguel Cotto, the most important of the post-Margarito questions surrounding him have been answered. Does he still have what it takes to compete with the A-listers in boxing's deepest division?
The answer is a resounding Yes! Not only did he take on one of the toughest opponents he could’ve faced at this time, he fought through the adversity of a nasty eye-gash and a big strong and very durable foe who possesses boxing skills and came away with the victory.
There were times especially during the middle rounds when the fight started to resemble the Margarito affair. Clottey applied tremendous pressure scoring at times repeatedly with right hands and uppercuts and even got in some bodywork.
The fact that Cotto didn’t unravel under those circumstances even when it became clear that Clottey was not going to be discouraged in any way, shows that what happened to him against the disgraced Mexican fighter is in the past and is unlikely to affect him when the going gets rough in future battles.
In the shark-infested waters of a Welterweight division teeming with the likes of Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Louis Colazzo, both Cotto and Clottey have what it takes to swim with the big fish and from that perspective it is good that the both of them are still in the picture.
Throw in the fact that Paul Williams is lurking out there and the possibilities are endless.