F Cotto stops Mayorga to retain WBA title - Powcast Sports

Cotto stops Mayorga to retain WBA title

(AFP) LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) – Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto kept his World Boxing Association super welterweight crown by stopping Ricardo Mayorga of Nicaragua 53 seconds into the 12th round.

Cotto inflicted the only knockdown of the fight in the opening seconds of the last round during an exchange with a stunning left hook, staggering Mayorga, who went down on his knees and grabbed his left hand in pain.

"This hook was the one to decide the fight," Cotto said after Saturday's bout. "The whole fight was great but the finish was amazing."

Mayorga rose and continued for a few seconds, but Cotto landed a stinging left to Mayorga's chest and seconds later, the challenger stopped the fight, saying he could not continue because of his injured hand.

"My left arm, in one of those combinations, I felt it hit to the back of my hand and it started hurting," Mayorga said. "I started trying to make a fist and I couldn't. Then I said I couldn't continue."

Cotto improved to 36-2 with his 29th stoppage inside the distance in his first fight after a nine-month layoff that included right shoulder surgery.

Former world welterweight champion Mayorga fell to 29-8 with one drawn only three months after ending a 26-month layoff, then saying he would retire.

"I'm going to look for a job," Mayorga said. "It's time to retire.

Mayorga taunted Cotto in the weeks before the fight but told him after the bout, "I never meant any of those things. It's all promotion. It's all entertainment." Cotto in turn never let the verbal sparring disturb his focus.

"He did not take me out from my calm." Cotto said. "I just keep in my work and just be myself."

Impressive exchanges began in the opening seconds, with referee Robert Byrd warning Mayorga about blows behind the head and low blows in round one.

Mayorga took a pair of hard lefts to the head, then shook his head to indicate they did not hurt him, a routine that played out throughout the fight.

In round two, Mayorga landed a solid uppercut and a pair of chopping right hands to the head, but Cotto answered with solid lefts, taking advantage of moments when the challenger tried to slow the intense pace.

Mayorga backed himself into a corner midway into the third round, taunting Cotto to come at him. The champion did press the attack, but would not be lured into letting down his poise and patience to brawl against the crafty veteran.

Cotto, coming off right shoulder surgery, showed no sign of trouble throwing right hands with strong punches and jabs.

Mayorga, who turned 38 on Thursday, had vowed to knock out Cotto in the fourth round but failed, although he did land five consecutive blows in a flurry at the finish.

Cotto, 30, had the best of several exchanges in the fifth round, scoring with solid left hooks and uppercuts.

"He hits really hard (but) he didn't scare me," Mayorga said of Cotto.

Mayorga stung Cotto early in round seven with a left to the body and solid rights to the head and again late in the round with an uppercut and several hard rights.

"Pretty strong fighter," Cotto said of Mayorga. "He has pretty strong hands. He can win. He can beat anybody."

Cotto used his jab to attack consistently but Mayorga counter-punched effectively with right flurries in the ninth and 10th.

Mayorga resumed taunting Cotto midway into the 11th round but the champion kept his focus and kept the challenger at bay, setting up the dramatic finish.

If Mayorga sticks to his decision to retire, he'll have lost five of his final nine career fights. He also fell to Shane Mosley in 2008, Oscar de la Hoya in 2006, Felix Trinidad in 2004 and Cory Spinks in 2003.

Cotto now hopes for a chance to avenge a 2009 loss to Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao or a 2008 loss to Mexico's Antonio Margarito, whose victory was tainted by a one-year ban after glove tampering was discovered in the fight after he beat Cotto.

Among other potential future rivals is Mexico's unbeaten Saul Alvarez, the World Boxing Council super welterweight champion.


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