Body Blows: Cotto/Urkal & Miranda/Green

The HBO card from last weekend featured two power punchers against conventional boxers. The always-exciting Miguel Cotto faced Oktay Urkal in the main event while Edison Miranda went up against Allan Green in the middleweight undercard. Would Cotto and Miranda prevail with their power or would the be out-boxed by their opponents?

Edison Miranda vs. Allan Green

Allan Green is confident that he can out-box the stronger Edison Miranda. Green is a super middleweight whereas Miranda fights as a middleweight. They agreed upon a 162-pound catchweight for the fight. Super middleweights fight at 168 lbs and middleweights compete at 160 lbs. This is Green’s toughest fight to date while Miranda is coming off of his first loss at the hands of Arthur Abraham.

While Allan Green believed his boxing ability would carry him against Edison Miranda, he isn’t doing enough in the early stages of this fight to score points. Edison “Pantera” Miranda is the aggressor in the fight. He’s even rough-housing Green while Green does nothing but complain to combat it. This is a boxing match, Allan. Take matters into your own hands. Miranda hurts Green in the third round but Green comes back in the fourth. The crowd finally responds in the 4th round. This was a highly anticipated fight but the crowd was relatively silent up to this point. Now it is turning into the slugfest that many expected. It actually resembles a heavyweight fight; it has a slow pace, heavy punches, very few combinations, bullying by Miranda, and clinches. That’s not really what you want to see out of middleweights.

HBO’s CompuBox #’s have it rather even after five rounds but Miranda is undoubtedly controlling the fight. He continuously comes forward while Green backpedals. Being the aggressor in the fight weighs heavily upon the judges. This fight is in such a lull that even Miranda seems bored. That’s probably why he gets caught with a left hook in the 8th round that sends him to the canvas. Allan Green needs to build from the momentum of the knockdown in the 8th but finds himself in trouble early in the ninth round as Miranda wobbles him not once, but twice. The second shot came late in the 9th round and set up a dramatic tenth and final round.

Edison Miranda attempts to murder Allan Green in the last round. He crushes Green with a counter right that had Green out on his feet. Green retreats to the ropes and Miranda overwhelms him for the knockdown. Green is just trying to survive this final round but doesn’t have his legs underneath him.

A couple of weeks ago I featured a quote from HBO analyst Larry Merchant and I think it will be a regular feature from here on out. I generally despise Merchant but his quip was actually pretty funny this week. With Allan Green reeling, Lennox Lewis points out that Green keeps staring at his feet, to which Merchant responds, “perhaps he’s wondering why they’re still upright.”

Miranda hits Green and Green goes for a clinch but winds up on the mat again. Only 15 seconds remain in the fight. Green gets up and Miranda literally runs at him for one final shot over the referee as the bell rings. Green would have been a TKO victim had the fight lasted 20 more seconds. The scorecards are read and it is 96-91 on two cards and 97-90 on the other, all in favor of Edison Miranda.

Miguel Cotto vs. Oktay Urkal

Cotto is the action-packed fighter that deserves an audience no matter who is opponent is. Tonight it just happens to be Oktay Urkal, a 37-year-old fighter who has lost in his previous three title shots to Vivian Harris and Kostya Tszyu. Those are his only losses but this German hasn’t beaten anyone worth noting.

Cotto is being very patient in this fight but steps it up in the third round. He is distancing himself more in the fourth round. Urkal is being as competitive as he can and not running from Cotto as maybe he should be for his own well-being. Open scoring is being utilized in this fight. That means that the official scores will be read after the 4th and 8th rounds should the fight last that long. After the 4th round, all three judges score the fight 40-36 for Cotto.

A clash of heads at the end of round five cuts Cotto over his left eye. Urkal is trying his hardest to take Cotto out of his game. He’s doing a good job of it as Miguel Cotto hasn’t been as explosive as he usually is. Given that this fight is in Cotto’s home country of Puerto Rico, I’m sure Cotto wants to put on a good show for his fans. Urkal loses a point in the 7th round for a headbutt. The headbutts from Urkal are frequent and curbing any flow that Cotto establishes during the rounds.

Oktay Urkal headbutts Cotto in the chin at the end of the 8th round. Cotto looks pissed and confirms it by putting a little more behind his punches in the 9th round. Open scoring reveals the official scorecards to be 77-74, 78-73, and 80-71 all in favor of Miguel Cotto. A left uppercut rocks Urkal’s head back in the 9th. Cotto is giving Urkal his best shots but the German is hanging in there when most of Cotto’s opponents would be looking up at the lights at this point.

Cotto, growing tired of Urkal’s headbutts and clinches, goes for a back body drop out of a clinch but it is nicely side-stepped by Urkal. Another headbutt from Urkal leads to another point deduction in the 11th round. Urkal’s corner decides to throw in the towel after the point is taken from their fighter. That was odd timing. Their fighter was losing the fight but was certainly not at a point where he couldn’t defend himself. The HBO commentators blame the abrupt stoppage on open scoring. Uli Wegner, Urkal’s trainer that threw in the towel, was interviewed after the fight and said that open scoring let him know that his fighter was losing but the stoppage was due to frustration with the referee. Referee Luis Pabón had twice deducted points from Urkal but hadn’t even warned Cotto for, what Wegner belived, were illegal shots to the kidneys of Urkal.

The result was inevitable as Cotto built a big lead and Urkal had no chance, or the power for that matter, to record a late knockout of the welterweight champion. Cotto retained his WBA Welterweight Title, officially by TKO in 11th round. Should Zab Judah win his April bout on ESPN, that would be his next opponent for a June pay-per-view date.

Other Results From the Week

– Nate Campbell made easy work of Ricky Quiles and not only earned the unanimous decision, but also became the #1 contender for the IBF Lightweight Title.

– Darrell Woods beat Samuel Miller by majority decision in a fight Joe Tessitore of ESPN was calling the clubhouse leader for Fight of the Year. I didn’t like it that much but it was an exciting fight.

– Joey Gilbert is undefeated since losing to Peter Manfredo on The Contender. Gilbert scored a unanimous decision over Michi Munoz.

– Danny Williams knocked out Scott Gammer in the 9th round.

– Alejandro Berrio won the vacant IBF Super Middleweight Title with a third round TKO of Robert Stieglitz.

– Chris John retained his WBA Featherweight Title with a unanimous decision over Jose Rojas.

– Featherweight prospect Juan Manuel Lopez defeated Leivi Brea by TKO in the 2nd round.

Spit Bucket

Read the review of Vazquez/Marquez, the real leader in the clubhouse for Fight of the Year.

Did you miss UFC 68? Inside Fights has you covered. The live report is here and don’t forget Nichols’ review here.

Show Newman some love for his retro-review of Pride 18.

Want to write for Inside Fights? Now is your chance.

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