By Victor Salazar
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33KOs) retained his title for the first time with a fourth round stoppage of former three-time champion Daniel Geale (31-4, 16KOs), who reportedly was 175-180-pounds by the time he entered the ring after stepping on the scale at 157-pounds at Friday's weigh-in.
"I am so disappointed. It went too fast and I am extremely disappointed," Geale told reporters.
Cotto started fast. He was outboxing Geale from the outside and landing the more telling blows. As promised, Cotto was targeting the body and landing good hooks to the head. Cotto continued his pattern of dominance in the second and started mixing up his punches with a jab to the body to keep Geale at a distance. Geale would land an occasional good right hand, but Cotto was outpunching and outworking him.
During the fourth, Cotto landed a hard left hand that sent Geale down hard on his back. Geale managed to beat the count, but Cotto then attacked with everything - and he was hitting Geale with everything in his arsenal. Geale went down for a second time, from a barrage of shots to the head and body. Once again Geale was able to get to his feet, but the referee felt the Australian veteran was in no shape to continue and waved off the fight.
Cotto is now expected to collide with Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the fall.
"If the people want that fight to happen, it will happen," Cotto said.
ON THE UNDERCARD
In a mild upset in what was a lackluster bout, Mexico’s Fernando Vargas (29-9-2, 20 KO’s) defeated Puerto Rico’s Wilfred Vasquez, Jr. (24-5-1, 19 KO’s). On paper it was Puerto Rico vs. Mexico but in the ring it lacked anything of significance to add one of the best rivalries in boxing. Vasquez was in his second eight round fight since his defeat last year to Marvin Sonsona on the undercard of Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez.
Vasquez and Vargas didn’t do much in terms of action but Vargas was the more active fighter landing the more telling blows when they decided to trade. Much from the little they traded in the 4th round, it was a tentative back and forth game of jabs and maybe a 1-2 throughout the bout that Vargas got the best of.. The bout went the full distance much to the dismay of the crowd with Gennady Golovkin arriving to the arena in the seventh round. Golovkin’s arrival brought more buzz in the crowd than the fight that was going on.
All three of the judges sided with Vargas with scores of 79-73, 78-74, 77-75
China’s Zhang “Big Bang” Zhilei (4-0, 2 KO’s) defeated Glen Thomas (1-4) by unanimous decision. The size difference in this fight was massive as Zhilei outweighed his opponent by over 48 lbs. Zhilei dropped Thomas in the first with a nice right hand, straight left, right uppercut combination. Thomas got up from the canvas but the punches kept coming. In the 3rd round another right hook, straight left dropped Thomas but Thomas chose to get up and continue on. Thomas was floored again in the 4th but picked himself up to make it to the final round but was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision. The scorecards were 40-33 on all three judges’ scorecards for Zhilei.
Hot Brooklyn prospect Junior Younan improved to 7-0 securing his sixth knockout by stopping Orlando’s Mike Sawyer (6-4, 4 KO’s). Early on it was pressure from Younan and left hooks that dropped Sawyer in the first round. Younan was patient in the round landing left hooks to the head and right hooks to the body. Sawyer survived the onslaught. Younan continued the same attack but was intelligent not to stay in the pocket too long. Younan landed a hook to the head that sent Sawyer almost into through ropes for a second knockdown. Sawyer got up but Younan attacked after the 8 count. With Sawyer not throwing anything back and eating more hooks, the bout was stopped at 2:29 of the second round.
Dustin “The White Tiger” Fleischer (2-0, 2 KO’s) won his second consecutive fight by knockout, as he stopped Kareem Milner (1-2, 1 KO) in the first round. He jumped on his opponent from North Carolina early and often. It was a barrage of straight right hands. Milner was caught on the ropes with no way out forcing the referee to stop it. The bout was stopped at 1:06.
Brooklyn’s Angel Luna (11-1-1, 6 KO’s) defeated Puerto Rico’s Jose Lopez (15-1,1, 11 KO’s by a six round unanimous decision. Luna came out strong by being the aggressor and was determined to put the first loss on his opponent’s record.
He landed a nice uppercut that stunned Lopez in the second round, eventually throwing a big right that dropped Lopez near the end of the second round. Lopez survived but Luna was on the attack in the 3rd but was docked a point by referee Harvey Dock for throwing punches behind the head. In the fifth round Luna landed another massive overhand right that floored Lopez, but it came late in the round once again and Lopez was able to survive. The scores were 58-53, 58-53, 57-54.
Shawn Simpson made his pro debut and defeated Texas’ Damon Simon by way of a fourth round stoppage. In what was a fun filled four rounds, Simpson’s speed and power seemed to be on display. Through three rounds, it looked like Simon was going to make the final bell but a barrage of left hooks for Simpson were damaging and made the difference. Simon went down in the fourth and the referee stopped it at 2:05 of the round.