|Miguel Cotto (30-0) stands over Zab Judah (34-5) after knocking him down early in the eleventh round. The referee would stop the fight moments later. (Getty Images)|
Cotto improves to 30-0 with 25 knockouts, and becomes a legitimate star. The atmosphere was definitely that of a big fight, and after two early low blows from Cotto and a headbutt from each fighter, the bout settled into a pretty consistent pattern of Cotto abusing Judah, completely taking Zab's speed out of the equation and weakening him with a relentless, pressing attack that was eventually just too much for Judah to overcome.
Judah falls to 34-5, and has now lost his last three major fights. He wants to have a rematch in Puerto Rico with Cotto, but I don't think it's at all necessary. The low blows were brutal and had to have taken something out of him, but no one who watched the fight could argue that as a reason that Judah lost. He was overmatched against Cotto, and had his usual inconsistencies and lack of fire when in the ring against someone who can bother him. Judah is simply not a good fighter if pressed out of his gameplan. He never seems to have a backup idea, or if he does, he just can't implement it. If he doesn't dominate, he loses.
On the undercard, Humberto Soto beat Bobby Pacquiao with a highlight-reel straight right hand that knocked out Manny's little brother in the seventh round, improving to 42-5-2 and positioning himself as the guy at 130 that just can't be ignored any longer, or he becomes a truly ducked fighter. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., avenged his father's loss to Grover Wiley with a wonderful body attack that knocked the veteran from Omaha out in the third round, as he had simply had enough of his insides being rattled around. And in the opener, Yuri Foreman took a boring decision over Anthony Thompson, sealing Thompson's fate for the foreseeable future as a fallen prospect that hasn't lived up to his early promise. The first five rounds were so bad that I left, but it was reported back to me that it never got any better, and that the commentators discussed astrology for a while.
On Showtime, Antonio Tarver beat Elvir Muriqi by majority decision to win the vacant IBO light heavyweight title, and Chad Dawson knocked out Jesus Ruiz in the sixth round. Dawson is now 24-0, and Tarver 25-4. If Showtime is smart, they'll set those two up to fight one another down the line, sort of like HBO did with Hatton and Castillo.
Next Saturday we'll be live for HBO's Boxing After Dark presentation of Lovemore N'dou v. Paulie Malignaggi, and Hatton/Castillo is coming up on June 23.