Shaken in First, Cotto Is Beaten After 12th
By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI
Trout, 27, backed up those words Saturday night by refusing to let the 32-year-old Cotto, a four-time champion, catch up with him.
Trout (26-0 with 14 knockouts) soundly beat Cotto (37-4, 30 knockouts) in a 12-round unanimous decision before 13,096 spectators, many of them cheering and waving Puerto Rican flags in support of Cotto — a native of Caguas, P.R. — and loudly booing Trout.
“I’ve been preparing for this fight for my entire life,” Trout said after the bout. “Fighting Miguel Cotto is a dream come true, it was the hardest fight of my career.”
Trout set the tone early by wobbling Cotto with a hard left hand in the first round. Cotto quickly regained his footing and his composure, but the taller and longer-reaching Trout kept Cotto at bay until midway through the sixth round when Cotto connected with a razor-sharp right hand to Trout’s face. But Trout hardly blinked.
Trout’s southpaw style gave Cotto trouble throughout, as Cotto had a tough time attempting to square up the champion and attack him with any consistency.
“I had to show him I was the bigger guy and push him back a couple of times to show him he had no advantage,” Trout said.
Cotto had his greatest success in the closing seconds of the 10th round, backing Trout into his corner with a flurry of punches that dazed Trout and had the crowd cheering. But Trout refused to give Cotto any openings after that.
“He came at me with both hands, and we fought to the end,” Cotto said. “I’m satisfied with the job I did tonight.”
When asked if he thought he had won, Cotto said, “Who do you think won the fight? Just listen to those fans.”
The fans were still cheering for Cotto, who has long made the Garden his second home, having won all seven of his previous fights there. The crowd had been serenading him with chants of “Cott-O, Cott-O” from the time he entered the ring.
But none of that fazed Trout, who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., and arrived on Saturday night’s stage by first winning the W.B.A. interim super welterweight world championship in February 2011 by defeating Rigoberto Alvarez. He had since made three successful defenses of his title while fighting in the shadows of Cotto and a crowded stable of marquee welterweights.
Though quiet outside the ring, Cotto has spoken loudly with his fists since turning pro in 2001. Along the way, Cotto has earned millions on the strength of his reputation for taking on the toughest fighters of his generation, and Trout was no exception.
In recent years, Cotto has been doing battle with a steady stream of marquee opponents, a list that includes Shane Mosley, whom Cotto defeated in 2007 to retain his W.B.A. welterweight crown, and Antonio Margarito, who took that title away from him in 2008. Cotto lost to Manny Pacquiao in a heralded bout in 2009, but met Margarito again last year and defeated him to retain the W.B.A. light-middleweight title.
In May, however, Cotto lost his light-middleweight crown to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The Cotto-Trout affair was the main event of a nine-card bout that began with John Thompson, a middleweight from Newark (10-0), defeating Eli Agustama of Port-au-Prince, Haiti (6-6), in a six-round unanimous decision. Eddie Gomez (12-0), a rising super welterweights from the Bronx, dealt Luis Hernandez (9-1) of Rio Piedras, P.R., his first loss as a professional with a six-round unanimous decision.
A pair of hard-punching featherweights fought next, with Jorge Diaz (17-1) of New Brunswick, N.J., brawling past Victor Sanchez (3-5-1) of Houston in six rounds to earn a unanimous decision.
Another fighter from Newark, a lightweight named Michael Perez (18-1-1), twice dropped Fernando Carcamo (10-5) to the canvas to capture a unanimous decision.
Jeffrey Fontanez (9-0), a lightweight from Cotto’s hometown, Caguas, electrified the crowd with a vicious, sweeping left-handed knockout of Pedro Arcos (12-3-1) of Tijuana, Mexico, in the second round of their scheduled six-round bout.
The Puerto Rican faithful were back on their feet a short time later as Jorge Melendez (25-2-1) of Manati, P.R., dominated James Winchester (15-7) of Greensboro, N.C. Melendez scored a technical knockout 54 seconds into the fourth round of their scheduled eight-round super welterweight fight.
After the Melendez bout, the cheers began to swell for the arrival of Daniel Jacobs, a super middleweight from Brooklyn. Jacobs, nicknamed the Miracle Man, was found to have spinal cancer in May 2011 and was temporarily paralyzed below the waist.
Jacobs (24-1) did not disappoint, overcoming a slow start to defeat Chris Fitzpatrick (15-3) of Cleveland by technical knockout at the end of the fifth round.
Jayson Velez (20-0), delighted the crowd by capturing the vacant World Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title with a third-round technical knockout of Salvador Sanchez II (30-5-3) of Mexico.
Austin Trout beats Miguel Cotto
NEW YORK -- After most of the fans who flocked to the Garden had left, Austin Trout hopped on the top rope, his championship belt still around his waist, and pointed in appreciation to the ones who stuck around in celebration.
Trout had started the night about as unknown as any champ in the sport. Without a doubt, he made a name for himself in New York with the signature victory that had eluded his title reign.
Trout roughed up Miguel Cotto late to win a 12-round unanimous decision and retain his share of the 154-pound title Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Trout remained unbeaten and used lopsided scorecards to end Cotto's run as the undisputed champion of the New York fight scene.
"All I wanted was a chance," Trout said. "That's all I asked for."
He made the most of it at the Garden.
Trout (26-0) grated skin off Cotto's battered face, leaving the challenger red and swollen, after cranking up the pressure over the final two rounds to truly take control on the scorecards. Cotto (37-4) lost his second straight fight after dropping a piece of the 154-pound title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May.
Billed as "No Doubt" Trout, he never wavered even as a raucous pro-Cotto crowd was against him from the start. Two judges scored the bout 117-111 and the third had it 119-109.
"I hope they bring me back to New York," he said. "I loved fighting in the Garden."
Cotto used to feel the same way. He long ruled in New York, turning the city into his own home-ring advantage, winning all seven of his fights at the Garden, plus one at Yankee Stadium.
Trout delivered in easily the biggest and most high-profile fight of his career. The 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate grinded out a championship reign in Texas and New Mexico and was a relative unknown on the national scene.
No doubt, that has changed.
"I've been preparing for this fight my entire life," he said. "Fighting someone like Miguel Cotto is a dream come true for someone like me waiting for their big moment. I had to show him I was the biggest guy and push him back a couple of times. I kept pushing him back to show he had no advantage there."
Trout truly swung the scorecards his way with stiff punches to the head and relentless jabs that shook Cotto.
Cotto, a four-time world champion, stormed out of the ring after the 12th and tersely asked who the fans thought won the bout. But this bout was no popularity contest. The 32-year-old Cotto wanted to time to think with his family before deciding to fight again.
"I'm not finished yet," he said. "I still have boxing in my mind. I just want to rest with my family the rest of the year."
Trout got second billing in the pre-fight introduction, walking out first, a member of his team holding the title belt high over his head -- the intro traditionally reserved for the challenger. But Cotto's company, Miguel Cotto Promotions, helped promote the fight, and he was the main reason why 13,096 fans came to the Garden. They serenaded him with "Cotto! Cotto!" chants as he walked to the ring and they never let up until the end of the 12th round.
Trout's trunks read "Keep Up." Did he ever.
Not even getting called for a pair of low blows did much to shake Trout in what was essentially a road game for the champ. Trout was nailed in the sixth with a big left to the head. Cotto briefly put Trout against the ropes to end the 10th. Cotto put the fans on their feet when he connected with a series of body blows that left Trout reeling. Trout needed some extra time to start the 11th to adjust his gloves.
Trout did enough in his fourth title defense over the final two rounds to keep his WBA super welterweight belt.
"They shouldn't have a question who Austin Trout is now," he said.
Canelo Alverez, holder of the WBC 154-pound belt, was in the crowd, and received some of the loudest boos of the night. Alvarez seemed next in line to fight Cotto, in a potential epic bout, as early as May. But those plans are likely on hold and Trout still might not be marketable enough to get that spot. Trout called out Alverez after the fight and proclaimed himself ready to add another belt to his collection.
Before the main event started, there was a moment of silence and a 10-bell salute for Hector "Macho" Camacho, who was shot in the face Nov. 20 while sitting in a parked car and died four days later.
In the big undercard match, Danny Jacobs, from Brooklyn, defeated Chris Fitzpatrick via TKO in the fifth round as he continues his comeback from bone cancer. The one-time rising star in the sport won for the second time since he was sidelined for nearly 19 months because of a form of bone cancer that led to partial paralysis in his legs.
Jacobs busted open Fitzpatrick's scalp early in the fight and pummeled him in the fifth, forcing the stoppage.
"I'm glad I got the rounds in and the ring rust out," Jacobs said. "I feel like I'm back. Obviously, I want to step up my competition. But I don't want to jump the gun just yet."
Trout's win came in one of the rare main events these days at the Garden.
Earlier in the day at a New York restaurant, a press conference was held for the Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah fight Feb. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Barclays Center has quickly claimed its turf in the New York fight game as Madison Square Garden's days as a fight mecca have dimmed beyond the occasional Cotto fight. Some of the epic heavyweight bouts in history, including the first two Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fights, were held in the Garden.
The remodeled arena is no longer boxing's regular showcase for the stars.
But for a night, MSG had room for one more great fight.
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