Cotto Edges Clottey, Eyes Pacquiao

Cotto may want Pacquiao, but Clottey was hard enough.

Miguel Cotto achieved redemption this past Saturday night by earning a split decision win over Joshua Clottey in a match that resembled Cotto’s last match, a TKO loss to Antonio Margarito, in terms of the blood Cotto shed and the beating he took at times.

Cotto improved to 34-1 with the win, but it was not an easy one as Cotto had to noticeably outwork Clottey (35-3) in the final three rounds to swing the judges back to his favor for the win.

Cotto was cut above his left eye in round three by an accidental headbutt and was noticeably distracted by it during the remainder of the fight as he tried to stop the blood himself with his glove. Despite the blood, Cotto didn’t waver and continued throwing. He started to become the attacker in the later portion of the fight.

Cotto scored the fight’s only knockdown in the final seconds of the first round with a left jab that hit the sweet spot and sent Clottey to the canvas.

After Cotto was cut, Clottey won several rounds by focusing on Cotto’s left eye. Clottey made Cotto’s cut even worse which caused some concern that there would be an early stoppage because of the blood loss.

In the event of a doctor stoppage before the end of round four, the fight would have been a no contest.

While Clottey fought a great fight tactically, he was plagued by several strange incidents during the fight. After the accidental headbutt came an accidental takedown by Cotto. Clottey lost his footage due to the slickness of a repainted Tecate sign in the corner and Cotto appeared to slam Clottey to the canvas, injuring his left knee in the process. That left knee would continue to bother Clottey throughout the fight, most noticeably with his footing. During an exchange in the final round, Clottey spun around and Cotto caught the back of Clottey’s head sending Clottey to his knees. None of these incidents played a large part in the fight itself or the decision, but added a surreal touch to this fight.

Tom Miller scored the fight 114-113 for Clottey while John McKaie scored it 115-112 for Cotto, but Don Trella raised some eyebrows with his card reading 116-111 for Cotto.

Despite landing forty-three more punches than Cotto for the fight, it appeared as though Clottey did all of his work in the first nine rounds. Or Clottey simply ran out of gas, as rounds ten through twelve saw Clottey play defense and dance around the ring. Had Cotto been in the condition he was in against Margarito during this phase—battered, bloody, and tired—it may have worked, but Cotto apparently knew all too well that he was down and had to win at least two of the final three rounds to win the fight. Cotto controlled the ring and the pace for basically every moment of the final three rounds working from the brief flurries that almost won him rounds six and eight.

The fight itself won’t be on any fight of the year lists, but what this was was a good fight between two good fighters and that is all you can ask for when you put two good fighters in the ring against each other.

The 17,734 in Madison Square Garden were largely pro-Cotto as the fight came a day before the Puerto Rican Day Parade and a Cotto fight proved quite the appetizer. The win was a fine main course.

Cotto 9 10 9 10 9 10 9 9 9 10 10 10 114
Clottey 9 9 10 9 10 9 10 10 10 9 9 9 113

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