Ever since Miguel Cotto was beaten in controversial, tragic fashion in the summer of 2008 against Antonio Margarito, the four time world champion has yet to have defeated a elite opponent. Although in the past four years, Cotto has still held onto the skill, savvy, punching power and versatility to beat good opposition and gain world titles along the way. However, when Cotto has gone up against the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and most recently Austin Trout, Cotto has looked less and less like the scintillating welterweight he was from 2006 to 2008. Entering Saturday night in Orlando Florida, where the Orlando Magic hosts their NBA regular season, Cotto needed to produce some magic to get some buzz and belief back into the Puerto Rican star’s quest to pad the resume before his tenure in boxing is over.
After being presented with two defeats in a row, Delvin Rodriguez, a game seasoned fighter who went some good rounds with Cotto’s last vanquisher, Austin Trout. Rodriguez was brought in to see if Cotto was now simply just a name, and if his notoriety in the sport has now a days been more predicated on past glories.
After coming in confident during the pre fight pageantry’s with a glimmer of confidence beaming in his eyes, Rodriguez was soon dealt with reality. The realization that Miguel Cotto was on a mission to not just win and rely on his marketability to keep himself in line for a big money fight, but rather he was the Cotto of old: seek and destroy. After putting the pressure to Rodriguez, Cotto began unleashing the abdomen busting signature body attack that made him once considered the best body puncher in boxing. Cotto’s renowned, educated left jab was also on impressive display. Allowing Cotto to close the distance on the taller Rodriguez to get into position to unload Cotto’s crunching left hook and combinations to the body.
After a dominant first two stanzas, Cotto had Rodriguez weary of protecting his midsection. Towards the end of the third and final round, Cotto captured Rodriguez along the ropes and capitalized in combination, capturing Rodriguez flush with a crisp left hook to the jaw of Rodriguez. Ending the night and leaving Cotto with one of the most impressive performances he has had in years, thus regaining some of the momentum Cotto had following his valiant effort against Floyd Mayweather last May.
Delvin Rodriguez came to win and was game without a doubt, but he was outclassed. Rodriguez showed tremendous heart however and came to fight like a true professional. Cotto thwarting Rodriguez with ease speaks more to Cotto’s abilities as a top fighter than Rodriguez being some kind of a club fighter.
Miguel Cotto supporters, or those who just root for boxing to have it’s popular fighters remain relevant need be warned: Rodriguez has never been a world champion and while he may be a contender for years to come, he never will be a world champion. So although Cotto exceeded expectations in his performance tonight, the jury is still out on wether he can summon another career defining victory. The absolute truths for Cotto though, is that he is once again a legitimate hot commodity and Cotto fighting at his best benefits all parties involved in boxing.