By Richard Thomas
Photos: Richie Maldonado
Miguel Cotto made a statement in front of the pro Puerto Rican crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden last night as he scored a 57 second TKO victory in the 9th round over a game Mohamad Abdullaev. In the first round Abdullaev came forward and pressed the action. He had good defense with his guards held high, and he was getting through the defense of a passive Cotto. Seconds before the round finished Cotto was able to throw a good flurry of punches that brought the 10,231 fans alive. In rounds two and three, both fighters were going at it with Cotto doing more of the damage with his shots. Abdullaev held strong and kept the pressure up, and at times had Cotto up against the ropes as Abdullaev let his hands go. If Abdullaev had any serious power than Cotto would have been in some trouble.
In the following three rounds, 4 through 6, it was all Cotto. Cotto threw hard right hands to the body, and threw more combos than the previous three rounds. Because of the elevated pressure applied by Abdullaev, Cotto had to resort to a lot of lateral movement. In round seven Cotto looked like he wanted to knockout Abdullaev. Cotto came out more aggressive then previously seen in the fight, but soon after, Cotto regained his composure calmed down. Late in the seventh round, Abdullaev hit Cotto with a good right hand that made Cotto hold on. In round eight, Abdullaev was the more dominant fighter with his connect-rate increasing. All three judges easily gave that round to Abdullaev. Coming out for round nine, Cotto began throwing his strong jabs and uppercuts to the head of Abdullaev. Just seconds into the fight Abdullaev signaled to his corner and the referee that his right eye was bothering him, and it also looked like he did not want to continue. The doctor looked over the eye and it was completely shut closed along with a horrendous swelling that arouse above the right eye on the forehead. The fight was wisely stopped by the doctor, 57 seconds into the 9th round.
Miguel Cotto holds onto his WBO junior welterweight title and improves his record to 24-0, 20 KO’s, while Abdullaev falls to 15-2, 12Kos.
In an exciting co-feature event Joel Casamayor and Kid Diamond (Almazbek Raiymkulov) went toe-to-toe to see the bout ending up in a draw. In the opening round Casamayor began to retreat as the stalking Kid Diamond came forward with the urgency to destroy anything that he got his hands on. But Casamayor made Diamond think differently as he made Diamond stumble in the middle of the round with a double left hook to the chin that almost dropped the sturdy Diamond. Diamond was able to regain his balance and continued to press Casamayor. In that round both fighters let their hands go towards the end and Diamond went down. There was no punch that connected but the referee called it a knockdown. The bell soon after rang.
In round two it was all Diamond, he placed a right hook to the head of Casamayor, leaving him badly hurt. Casamayor began holding but it had no effect on the strong Diamond, who kept digging to the body and head, and connected at will. Casamayor made it out of round two, and in round three he started to box more by circling Diamond and using his overwhelming skills on the stalker. Rounds four and five were somewhat passive, but both fighters could make a case of being the winner of one or both of these rounds. In rounds 6-8, Kid Diamond completely took over, two judges scored rounds 6 through 8 in favor of Diamond. In round 9 the fight seemed to get closer. In the final three rounds, 10 through 12, Casamayor was able to outwit the strong Diamond. Casamayor had him hurt in the 12th round and was going to finish him off, but Diamond came back with the best punch of the fight as he connected with a solid right hand that hurt Casamayor badly. Diamond ran out of time when the bell rang, but if there were a few more seconds on the clock, Casamayor would probably have been a KO victim.
The judges scored the bout 116-111 for Kid Diamond, 115-112 for Casamayor, and 114-114 even. Both fighters added the first draw to their records as Casamayor's record goes to 31-3-1, 19 KO’s, and Kid Diamond'd recrod changes to 20-0-1, 12 KO’s.
The strong middleweight Irishman John Duddy (10-0, 9 KO’s) had a big test on his hands as he went the distance for the first time in his 10-fight career taking on a skilled Patrick Thompson (9-5-1, 4 KO’s). John Duddy came out in the first round looking to knockout Thompson like he did away with seven other opponents in the first round. Duddy started coming forward and throwing hard punches to the body and the head. The intelligent Thompson avoided danger as he boxed and circled Duddy. The second round was all Thompson as he threw consecutive right hands to the head of Duddy, who kept his left hand low. In the third round Duddy began to keep that lowered left hand up, and he seemed more cautious then seen in the previous two rounds. Round four swung back in Thompson’s favor as he boxed and threw jabs to the body and head of Duddy. The fifth round seemed pretty even as Duddy poured on the pressure and Thompson countering with big shots. In this same round, Thompson threw the best punch of the fight with a sweeping left hook that rocked Duddy. Duddy was able to shake it off, but would face another good left hook in that round. In rounds 6 through 8, it was all Duddy as it became very evident that Duddy's body punching was starting to wear down Thompson. Thompson still fought back, but it was not enough to pull off an upset. All three judges saw the eight-round bout 80-72, as Duddy remained undefeated by winning a unanimous decision.
In a four round super middleweight fight Wayne Johnson (8-0, 5 KO’s) scored a unanimous decision over James Sundin (6-2, 3 KO’s) with two judges seeing the bout 40-35, and the other 40-36.
In a scheduled four rounder, Super bantamweight Juan Manuel Lopez (4-0, 3 KO’s) stopped Eric Nemo (5-1-1, 2 KO’s) within 2:17 of the 3rd round. Leading up to the stoppage, it was a competitive fight with both fighters skillfully going at it. Lopez eventually broke down Nemo by first throwing a flurry and following with a strong right hand that dropped Nemo. Nemo made it to his feet but Lopez came in to finish him off. Nemo’s corner saw too much and stopped the fight.
Heavyweight Victor Bisbal (3-0, 2 KO’s) did not go the full four rounds as he TKO’d Victor James (1-2, 0 KO’s) in 1:23 of the 2nd round. After receiving punishment and giving back a little in return, Victor James decided to quit when he complained about something being wrong with his hands.
Lightweight Danny McDermott (2-0, 0 KO’s) pulled off a 4-round unanimous decision over debuting Alex Matos (0-1, 0 KO’s). All three judges scored the fight 39-37.
In a junior welterweight 6-round female bout with 2-minute rounds Agniezka Rylik (17-1, 11 KO’s) scored a unanimous decision over Tawnyah Freeman (4-2, 3 KO’s). Two judges scored the bout 60-54, and the other 59-55.