Middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik and welterweight star Miguel Cotto won easily in their comeback fights on tonight's Top Rank pay-per-view, recovering with no trouble after their first career losses in 2008.
Cotto (33-1, 27 KO) won the vacant WBO welterweight title with a five-round slaughter of England's Michael Jennings (34-2, 16 KO). Jennings stayed away from Cotto for three rounds, but was caught and knocked down twice in the fourth. He survived the round and came out for the fifth, showing real heart, but was knocked down again in that round, and the referee stepped in to rightly call it off. When it became a fight, Cotto outgunned Jennings with ease.
In the Youngstown main event, Pavlik (35-1, 31 KO) destroyed Marco Antonio Rubio (43-5-1, 37 KO) in nine rounds, after which Rubio broke down nearly to tears in his corner and surrendered. After the fight, Rubio said he felt very tight and just couldn't throw. He offered Pavlik almost no resistance whatsoever, but his chin showed up for sure. He took some good shots and was only clearly rocked once, though he was hurt a few times.
On the Madison Square Garden undercard, a new and improved John Duddy showed up and outboxed -- yes, outboxed -- Matt Vanda for nine full rounds before Vanda wobbled him and unloaded in the tenth. Vanda's 10th round was the only round of the night I gave to the underdogs. Duddy won a wide decision (99-91, 99-91, 97-93). Bad Left Hook scored it 99-91 for Duddy, who improves to 26-0 (17 KO). Vanda is now 39-9 (22 KO).
Duddy's performance was quite impressive and showed much more boxing than ever before. He and trainer Pat Burns are clicking nicely, though there's still much to improve upon. Duddy's defense was still leaky (Vanda landed nearly 40% of his shots), but he was able to stop any big rallies and fought the urge to war all night.
In the night's opener, top prospect Matt Korobov improved to 4-0 with his fourth knockout, boxing tentatively against Cory Jones (4-5, 1 KO) the whole way until landing a perfect right hook counter at the tail end of the fourth and final round. It was the shot of the night, and redeemed a fight that was being intensely booed by the New York crowd.
We'll be back tomorrow with much more on the card, and on Monday we'll update the picks competition. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a great round-by-round thread tonight!