Quick Update: 48-year old Ray Mercer knocked out former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in 10 seconds with a right hand. Good for you, Papa Ray.
Miguel Cotto overcame a nasty cut that came from an accidental headbutt and wound up outpointing Joshua Clottey over 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, winning a split decision to keep his WBA welterweight title in a gritty, outstanding fight.
Cotto (34-1, 27 KO) won on scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 113-114. Bad Left Hook scored it 114-113 for Cotto on the strength of a first round knockdown more than just about anything else.
Clottey (35-3, 20 KO) feels he was robbed, and by CompuBox numbers he vastly outlanded Cotto. If there is money in a rematch, I wouldn't be surprised to see one made. Top Rank controls both fighters and it's assumedly fairly easy to make happen. But if Cotto is in line to fight Manny Pacquiao in October, Cotto-Clottey II would be delayed at the very least.
It's not controversial, I don't think, that Cotto won the fight. What is bothersome is the 116-111 card from judge Don Trella, which it seems no one feels is defensible. Frankly speaking, I felt it was an absolutely awful card.
The fight had some strange moments. The accidental headbutt happens, but there was a debatable slip by Clottey in the corner that could be seen as more of a Cotto throw/shove, and in the 12th round Clottey was hit behind the head and complained of a low blow. Cotto has certainly had his questionable moments in the past, and tonight doesn't do anything to change that reputation.
Clottey will likely find it no easier to land a big fight now than he did before tonight. He fought hard, many will feel he won, and he gave Cotto all he could handle. He's still not a big star, still provides more risk than reward, and is a tough nut to crack. He showed an excellent defense through most of the fight, outlanded Cotto, and proved out as a top welterweight to be sure.
Cotto may be in line for a huge payday. If he doens't get Pacquiao, a rematch with Shane Mosley seems natural. Whether it happens or not is another matter, but it makes sense.
On the undercard, junior flyweight champion Ivan Calderon drew with Filipino Rodel Mayol after six rounds when the fight was stopped due to a cut caused by an accidental headbutt that opened up an old cut on Calderon. That cut might prove to be the difference in the aging Calderon's career.
We'll have more tomorrow.