Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey Ringside Report

Jonathan YaghoubiContributor IJune 14, 2009

This is my ringside report as posted from my website, 411mania.com. I was there at ringside for not only the main event but the under card.

Miguel Cotto (33-1, 27 KOs) W12 Joshua Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs)

Miguel Cotto was determined to go to hell and back to make sure his fellow Puerto Ricans inside Madison Square Garden went home happy. Maybe he was just so focused on getting rid of the horror of the Antonio Margarito loss out of his head. Whatever it was he did, it made for Cotto's most hard fought victory of his career.

Cotto was able to overcome a nasty gash from a headbutt and a brilliant performance by Joshua Clottey to take an exciting hard fought split decision fight to retain his WBO welterweight belt. With the win, Cotto improves to 34-1.

The three judges scored the fight 116-111 and115-112, both for Cotto, while the other one had it 114-113 for Clottey. Yours truly had it 114-113 for Cotto as it made for one of the more exciting and closest fights of the year so far.

For Cotto, used every tactic in the book en route to a split decision victory but didn't do much to show he hasn't been affected by the brutality of that evening.

"The cut made me fight harder," Cotto said, "but I felt like I was winning all the way. For the last four rounds, I moved around like I was going to win the fight and I did."

On the flipside, devastation is the only word that fit to describe the emotions of Joshua Clottey. He was so hurt by the decision in that he was willing to give up fighting because of it.

He screamed after the decision, "Oh no! This can't happen." Then he went to promoter Bob Arum and said, "That's it, I quit, I'm done with boxing. I can't take it anymore." Arum told Clottey that he fought "a magnificent fight and you have to continue."

Clottey fought a great fight as you can but might have gotten burned from the events of the first round. It started out tentative but Clottey would begin to show Clottey what kind of a night it was going to become.

Clottey worked the jab behind his tough defense and Cotto circling, boxing from the outside and occasionally shooting flurries to the body that were mostly blocked. Clottey seemed to control things with the jab and looked like he was going to take the first round until a Cotto hard jab dropped Clottey on the seat of his pants at the bell.

"Cotto pushed me and drove a hook to my jaw and got me good", said Clottey. "It didn't hurt me one bit and only drove me to fight that much harder for the rest of the fight".

Both men would trade jabs for the next two rounds until seconds to go in the third, though, Clottey trapped Cotto against the ropes and they clashed heads, opening a deep gash along Cotto's left brow line. It wasn't as bad Barrera's cut against Khan but it was not looking pretty.

It was so bad that when the bell rang for the fourth round, the ring side physician had to give a couple of extra moments to check out the cut before he could continue. With the cut dripping from his eyes, Cotto knew he could be in serious trouble with a fighter like Clottey.

However, with chants of "Cotto, Cotto" being echoed through the Garden, the gritty Cotto wiped the blood from his eye and kept on going. With the war raging on in Round Five, Clottey dove in to wrap his arms around Cotto, Cotto seemed to have shoved Clottey off of him and ended up falling face-first on the canvas, where he in a lot of pain for several minutes.

Clottey hurt his right knee, and he seemed to favor it as he was trying to shake it off. After several minutes of rest, Clottey shook it off and was able to continue.

"I hurt my knee and it ended becoming a nerve problem." Clottey said. My knee was hurting me for the rest of the fight after that. It sure seemed like it bother Clottey in the next round as he stood in his corner for almost the entire round taking relentless shots from Cotto.

It would eventually break down the defense of Clottey. After almost three minutes of Cotto punching, Clottey shot out of his guard and unloaded, landing a few shots here and there. But it was clearly a Cotto round and looked like the takedown from the previous round affected Clottey.

It would not affect Clottey for long as he would go on to pretty much dominate Rounds 7 and 8 winning on all three judges scorecards. He would the left-right combo and getting the hook off. An uppercut here and a hard right by Clottey and Cotto had no answer.

As bad it looked for Clottey in Round 6, it looked that great from him in Round 7 and 8. Seeming like he had the fight in the bag, Clottey decided not to press the action after Round 9 and it wounded up costing him dearly.

Cotto would win rounds 10-12 on two of the judge's scorecards as he able his will to win this fight despite the nasty cut over the eyebrow. Clottey is still not convinced of Cotto winning any kind of fight.

"They robbed me," Clottey said. "The winner of the fight is the one who's supposed to be fighting hardest. He was running and I was chasing. I threw the hardest punches. People said I'd lose the decision if it went to a decision, and it did. They robbed me."

Perhaps they did not want to deal with possible riot if Clottey was awarded the decision but I don't think it would have been as bad as people make out to be. In my opinion, I think Clottey can take more out of this loss than Cotto can from his win.

Don't get me wrong, Cotto showed great heart and determination by coming back from a nasty cut against a world class fighter but Joshua Clottey proved to the world that he is ready to be the best and the fans are willing to accept him as one of the welterweights in the world.

For Cotto, it looks as though he might have earned himself a date with the great Manny Pacquiao as both men are promoted by Top Rank. Bob Arum seemed like that is what he is leaning toward.

"Cotto and Pacquaio will happen," said Arum.

Ivan Calderon (32-0-1, 6 KOs) TD6 Rodel Mayol (25-3-1, 19 KOs)

On the undercard, Ivan Calderon would retain his WBO flyweight title but not the way he wanted it to. Calderon's fight ended with Rodel Mayol when an accidental head butt opened a severe gash on Calderon's forehead.

The bout was stopped at 1:50 of the sixth round and sent to the scorecards for a technical decision which turned out to be a split draw. Calderon, a southpaw, and Mayol, a right-hander, accidentally clashed heads in the fourth round, leaving both of them trying to shake it off. But their accidental head butts were worse in the fifth round. After a particularly bad one, Calderon emerged with a bad cut on his forehead.

Calderon is known for his defensive style showed a new side to his game as he started to take it to Mayol and talk him down. But another head butt in the sixth round forced the ref to have the doctor check Calderon again, and this time the fight was stopped and sent to the scorecards.

Matt Korobov (6-0, 5 KOs) W6 Loren Myers (7-5, 2 KOs)

Middleweight prospect Matt Korobov (6-0, 5 KOs) went the distance for the first time as a professional but coasted to an easy victory over Loren Myers (7-3, 2 KO's). Korobov was able to rock Myers at will but Myers showed a good heart and chin by not going down and was never really hurt from Korobov.

Korobov's next fight will come intwo weeks on the LAtin fury card in Atlantic City.