Helloooooo. Let's get right down to business. My hangover wasn't TOO bad, which meant I only had to pause the fights a few times each as I watched them today. Alright! And thanks everyone for the birthday wishes.
Miguel Cotto stopped Ricardo Mayorga in round 12 of their junior middleweight fight at the MGM Grand, a better fight than many expected going in, but one that played out as most predicted. Cotto, in my view, largely dominated the fight because he's a better boxer than Mayorga. That's not a top achievement or anything, as Mayorga has become cruder and cruder with age, to the point where he now relies almost exclusively on that chopping overhand right of his, and whatever minimal amount of speed he ever had is long gone.
Mayorga (29-8-1, 23 KO) was stopped for the fifth time in his career, but when you look at who has stopped him, it's a pretty impressive list. He lost by TKO in his pro debut, which happens, but the rest of the cast is superb: Cotto joins Tito Trinidad, Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley.
I thought Mayorga fought as well as could be reasonably expected of him, and better than I expected. I still had Cotto ahead 107-102 at the time of stoppage, which was the same card that all three ringside judges had. The 37-year-old Nicaraguan gave it his all, really did appear to be in quite good shape, and was just beaten by a better fighter. After the fight, Mayorga said he's going to retire, but we'll see. Mayorga has had some money problems in the past and may not really have a choice but to keep moonlighting as a fighter. I do hope that's not the case. Whatever you want to say about Mayorga, he fought hard in his career and would be best served by retiring at this point. He's up there in years, has taken a lot of punishment, has nothing more to prove, and most importantly, he knows it's time to retire. When a fighter can admit it's time to go, it means they've lost their spark and desire to compete. Nothing good comes of guys who fight when they know their time is over.
Cotto looked very sharp in the fight. Mayorga landed some good power shots along the way, and Miguel took them well. Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) was punching hard, mixing up his shots well, and looked sturdier than I thought he might if Mayorga landed some big shots. Just judging by his performance, his body language, and what seemed to be a renewed focus and confidence, I'd have to say his pairing with Emanuel Steward looks to be working for him. Cotto badly needed a legitimate trainer, and though Steward seemed an odd choice on paper for his style, it looks good now.
Where Cotto goes next is anyone's guess, but he'll have no shortage of would-be challengers. For one thing, fighting Cotto is a good payday, and he is small for the weight, plus at this point he'll never lose the tag of being past his peak, and I think that's fair enough. He's still quite a good fighter, just not as good as he used to be.
After the jump, results and analysis for the undercard.
Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KO) was completely overwhelmed by Pawel Wolak (29-1, 19 KO) on the undercard in another 154-pound bout, with Foreman's corner stopping the fight after six rounds. I hope people don't read this as some personal slam from me about Foreman, and take it the way I intend, but you can never guarantee such an outcome, so I'm just going to say it.
Yuri Foreman can't fight. I say that like I might say "Yinka Dare couldn't pass" or "Peyton Manning can't run." He's never handled being hit very well, and this was hideously lopsided considering what we know about Wolak. The Pole is tough, and he pressures pretty well, but he looked like a monster against Foreman, and he's really not. Wolak is frankly quite a limited fighter, but I had a feeling he'd give Foreman hell in there, and not only did he give him hell, he beat him with relative ease. Foreman could do nothing to stop Wolak from pounding away on him. You have to wonder if Yuri Foreman's heart is really in boxing now. He racked up a soft 28-0 record and got TV time and countless article plugs because of his background and the fact that he's Jewish and studying to be a rabbi. It was a good story. Now it's basically over. He's not going to be a star, because he frankly can't beat anyone who can get to him and apply pressure. He's got zero power and doesn't throw with bad intentions, either. Frankly he's too nice to be a world class boxer. I have nothing in the world against Yuri Foreman, but also no great desire to see him fight anymore. I feel like I quite well get the story once the bell rings. After this fight, guys will just bull at Foreman until he's had enough.
In a lightweight 12-round, Miguel Vazquez retained his alphabet soup title with a decision victory over Leonardo Zappavigna. Zappavigna (25-1, 17 KO) lost for the first time as a pro on scores of 118-110 (twice) and 117-111. Bad Left Hook scored it 118-110 for Vazquez, who improves to 28-3 (12 KO). Vazquez just turned 24 in March and has defused some bombers already. He's a clever fighter who really is only going to get better if this pattern holds. He made his pro debut against Saul Alvarez (yes, that one) in 2006, losing that fight, and his other losses are to Alvarez again in 2008, and to Timothy Bradley in 2007. He's never lost as a lightweight, and he just popped Zappavigna to death with counters, while also fighting aggressively himself. Zappavigna was totally out of gas by the end, and just looked well out of his league against a fighter this good. Lenny Zappa is going to make a lot of fans with his style, because he's an exciting fighter. But he's going to have horrible trouble with good boxers unless something about him dramatically changes. Vazquez was just far too good.
In the vanity fight of the evening, Tom Zbikowski blew out Richard Bryant in 1:45. I didn't bother watching this, because it's irrelevant unless Zbikowski actually plans to be a professional boxer, and that whole NFL gig of his, even if there's a pretty long lockout, is going to prevent that for the foreseeable future.
Off television, Matt Korobov improved to 14-0 (9 KO) by stopping Chicago's Michael "Midnight Stalker" Walker in 1:31. Walker (19-7-2, 11 KO) has long been a nice gatekeeper sort of fighter, a durable sort who could give prospects work and help show what they needed to improve. But now he's had his chin cracked, and it's not coming back. He's lost his last four by stoppage, starting with a Fernando Guerrero TKO-2 in April 2010 where Walker just looked like a deer in the headlights. Since then he's been stopped by, Mayorga and now Korobov. Getting stopped in and of itself doesn't diminish his ability to be a good stepping stone opponent. What does is if we're at a point that he can't even give guys rounds.