Knockout Nation: Cotto KO’s an Injured and Brave Foreman, Mayweather’s Latest Retirement, Khan’s New Fight!

Cotto’s Wins Title in 3rd Weight Class

Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) made a successful comeback last night at Yankee Stadium by finishing off a hobbled Yuri Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) with a patented left hook body shot in the 9th round.

Early on, a disciplined Cotto had little problems with Foreman’s darting lateral movement. The Puerto Rican star consistently threw the jab with conviction and visibly stunned Foreman in the opening 2 rounds. Foreman’s backpedaling prevented Cotto from getting set to fire power punches, but he still controlled the 3rd and 4th rounds and proved to be the harder puncher.

Sensing he was behind, Foreman uncharacteristically came out in rounds 4 and 5 with guns blazing. The studying Rabbi blasted Cotto with sharp straight rights, which Cotto took well. Foreman’s speed was the difference in the round, as the challenger was having difficulty picking off the shots and being able to counter before the champion darted out of position.

After a tactical 6th round, Cotto began pressing Foreman more in the 7th. The champion slipped in a corner due to his knee giving out, and for the rest of the round Foreman was strafed with left hooks and uppercuts. Foreman’s attempts to trade left him worst off, as Cotto was able to walk through his shots and land the more damaging combinations.

Foreman was clearly slowing down in the 8th, presenting himself a more manageable target for Cotto’s trademark body attack. Disaster hit in the round when Foreman’s knee gave out again and he painfully wobbled on his feet to continue. With no movement Foreman’s only chance at victory was lost. Cotto pounced on him with debilitating hooks and uppercuts. Foreman began winning the crowd with his valiant attempt to trade, but he was visibly being broken down and the end seemed moments away.

Suddenly, a bloody towel flew in the ring which normally signals a corner retirement. Referee Arthur Mercante, Jr looked towards the champion, who expressed his desire to fight on. After several minutes, Mercante was able to clear the ring and ordered the fight to continue, a move that may start an exciting, but dangerous new precedent in the sport.

The 9th proved to be the end of Yuri Foreman’s reign as champion. His corner urged him to slip and turn his body to blunt Cotto’s power, but this was not Foreman’s style. The coup de grace came courtesy of a thudding left hook to Foreman’s right side, which caused him to fall back into the ropes before slowly crumpling to the canvas.

Mercante didn’t bother to give a count, and could be heard praising Foreman for his effort as Cotto celebrated his 4th overall world title.

Cotto clearly felt redeemed by his effort and addressed his critics that felt his career was effectively ended by the punishing fight last November with Manny Pacquiao.

“I proved this night, everybody who said Miguel Cotto was finished, everybody failed,” Cotto told HBO’s Max Kellerman.

Foreman was applauded by the 20,000 plus fans in attendance after explaining why he refused to quit once he suffered the bad knee injury.

“I’m not quitting…I’m a world champion,” Foreman explained. “I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to continue.”

Where does Cotto go from here? Following the fight, welterweight Andre Berto called him out on Twitter for a fight. Cotto’s promoter Bob Arum has expressed the desire to pit him against Pacquiao and Margarito in rematches to the only losses of his career. In addition, there are possible exciting 154 matchups against Paul Williams and Alfredo Angulo.

This was a good albeit safe comeback fight for Cotto. He remained very composed and worked well behind his jab, evidence of his work with new trainer Emmanuel Steward. But to throw him back in with Pacquiao or Margarito would be unwise. It’s foolish to think he’s worn off the effects of those losses, particularly the Pacquiao beating, in just one fight. Ideally, he should pick up another belt against another 154 pounder such as Cory Spinks, and then seek out a big bout against either Andre Berto, Paul Williams, or Alfredo Angulo. All three would be action fights that would be winnable, especially under Steward.

Whatever he decides, it’s safe to say that rumors of Miguel Cotto’s demise as an elite fighter were very premature.

QuestionsView Results

On the undercard, Freddie Roach fighter Vanes Martirosyan scored an easy 10 round unanimous decision over Joe Greene.

Mayweather to Take 2 Years Off?

It was thought for the last few weeks that representatives for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were initiating preliminary talks for a possible showdown this November. But a recent statement by Floyd not only puts that fight again in doubt, but also Mayweather’s future as an active fighter.

Floyd Mayweather conducted an interview after participating in a Make a Wish Foundation event, where he met with 17 year old Armando Carral who suffers from Hodgkin’s disease.

“Floyd Mayweather is taking a year off or a couple of years off from boxing. I don’t really know what the future holds for him,” Mayweather said while sitting next to Carral, who expressed that he wants to see his favorite fighter take on Pacquiao next. “As I said, I want to take a year off from boxing. I’m taking a couple years off… away from the sport of boxing. I want to devote my time to my boxing gym.”

Many in the press are already speculating that the reason for Mayweather’s abrupt comments were due to him being upset with Manny Pacquiao receiving Fighter of the Decade honors from the Boxing Writer’s Association of America on Friday (June 5).

Top Rank and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, learning from his wild media comments in February that helped sink the first Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations, was more reserved in his response to the Mayweather interview.

"I'm telling you now, I've had long conversations with him, Manny Pacquiao's first goal is to get Mayweather in the ring and this whole drug-testing nonsense . I think it was nonsense, but Manny has now agreed," Arum said prior to Cotto-Foreman last night."He's agreed so now that's not an issue. So now the ball's in Mayweather's court and if Mayweather doesn't fight him, that's Mayweather's decision and he has every right to make that decision. If I was Mayweather I wouldn't want to fight Pacquiao either…I live there [Las Vegas] and I've no problem with the fight being in Vegas, and I know Manny has no problem either.”

Mayweather has made retirement a negotiation tool since 2006. Following his welterweight title-winning effort against Carlos Baldomir, he retired in a tearful post-fight press conference, but later signed off to face Oscar De La Hoya in his next fight. After beating Ricky Hatton in late 2007, he told HBO’s Larry Merchant that he wouldn’t let boxing “retire him” and that he planned to hang up the gloves rather than face Miguel Cotto. While in negotiations for a De La Hoya rematch in 2008, Mayweather again announced his retirement and did not return to the ring until September 2009.

Based on his past history, it’s not farfetched to see Mayweather actually stay out of the ring for the next year or so, forcing Pacquiao into fighting Antonio Margarito or a rematch with Miguel Cotto.

As hard as it is for these guys to keep quiet when a microphone or camera is pushed in front of them, I hope that from now on both camps will give a simple “no comment” when asked about the fight. Let them finish up all the details behind closed doors. Until then, the boxing world can focus on fights that have been signed.

Amir Khan to Face Joel Casamayor on July PPV Card

Not even a full month after dominating Paulie Malignaggi in his U.S. debut, Amir Khan will now face former lightweight champion Joel Casamayor on July 31 in Las Vegas as a part of the Juan Diaz-Juan Manuel Marquez PPV card.

Khan had talked about facing the big names of the junior welterweight division, but many of them are tied up for the rest of the summer. Timothy Bradley is set to face Luis Carlos Arbegu on July 17, and Devon Alexander faces Andriy Kotelnik (who Khan defeated last year) on August 7. Even Marcos Maidana is currently out of action with a back injury.

This leaves Golden Boy with the Casamayor bout as essentially a stay busy fight until a bigger name can be secured for the fall.

Joel Casamayor has only fought one 8 rounder since being stopped by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2008, and is considered on the slide. The Cuban veteran intends to shock fans and believes Khan and the other young junior welterweights are extremely overrated.

“July 31 is a go. Come July 31 lightning is going to strike twice because I’m going to knock Amir Khan out dead. I want to let the people know that I’m up for this fight. A lot of people are putting bad things out there,” Casamayor stated. “Timothy Bradley, Maidana, and Alexander, these guys have done nothing for this sport. What have they done for this sport? I’m a 4-time world champ in 2 weight classes. Amir Khan has done nothing either and come July 31 I’m going to prove that he’s a nobody.”

I believe all fighters should be more active and at least try to get in 3-4 bouts a year. And in Khan’s case, his options for a top fight are indeed frozen at this time. But it’s more credible if he could have at least secured a genuine junior welterweight for this fight. Casamyor is going to get blown out badly and Khan will get nothing from it except a decent workout.

On the bright side, this is on PPV and won’t use up valuable TV dates.

News and Notes

- Wladimir Klitschko allegedly offered David Haye a 50-50 contract with no options. No word from Haye’s camp.

- Andre Berto is considering moving down to junior welterweight. He currently holds the WBC welterweight title and defeated Carlos Quintana by TKO in April.

- Pacquiao’s camp sees the Cotto rematch as the main backup if the Mayweather fight can’t be made. According to Bob Arum, Las Vegas will be the likely site for Mayweather-Pacquiao.

- WBO 154 pound titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk has sent a proposal to WBC titlist Sergio Martinez for a unification bout. Martinez is also the lineal middleweight champion courtesy of his recent win over Kelly Pavlik.

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