By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
Atlantic City, NJ - With the Boardwalk Hall filled, and HBO broadcasting to millions at home, Miguel Cotto tore into Alfonso Gomez and in the same ring where the “Contender” fighter enjoyed his greatest win (TKO 7 vs. Arturo Gatti, 7/14/07), punished the likable and big willed fighter, sending Gomez to his most demoralizing defeat.
While the bout actually lasted until the ring doctor advised referee Randy Neuman not to let the one-sided debacle continue after round five, the fight was realistically over in the first round; when the first few exchanges proved this twelve round title match was simply a mismatch.
Barely escaping in round one, a collection of Cotto body shots towards the end of round two sent a devastated Gomez to the canvas for his first of three knockdowns. More nasty body shots by Cotto dropped Gomez again in the third and a vicious debilitating barrage sent the overwhelmed fighter to the deck late in round five. Badly bruised and totally finished, a demoralized and defeated Gomez managed to slowly amble back to his stool where he dropped, and rightfully was not allowed to get back up from.
At times Cotto seemed to be toying with Gomez, dropping his hands and pounding on the lesser fighter, all to the delight of the largely partisan Puerto Rican crowd. When it was all over Cotto had out landed Gomez 188 to 63 in total punches, and a staggering 125 to 46 in power shots (according to Compu-Box)…basically every shot from Cotto is a power shot!
Gomez - a contender, with a heart of a champion, slips to 18-4-2 (8 KO’s), while Miguel Cotto improved to 32-0; the dominating stoppage being the 26th victory by way of knockout for the humble and classy hero of Puerto Rico.
In the co-feature bout Kermit Cintron was defending his International Boxing Federation welterweight world championship title, but even more importantly he was defending his legitimacy and honor against former champion Antonio Margarito.
Back in 2005 Cintron, then the hot 24-0 undefeated prospect was rushed into challenging the dangerous Mexican fighter, who was defending his World Boxing Organization belt. Cintron was not ready for the big step and paid dearly with a torturous beating which resulted in his first loss - a crushing fifth round TKO drubing, which hurt just as much, if not more, mentally as it did physically.
Tonight Cintron was a much better fighter then he was on that never-to-be forgotten April night in Las Vegas (04/23/2005), but he still was not ready for Antonio Margarito.
While appearing ferocious as he entered the ring and surprisingly calm once the bell rang, it was soon apparent that Cintron still had no answer for Margarito’s power and resilience.
Nothing but credit though can be given to Cintron as he went toe-to-toe, and gave as much as he got for as long as this savage battle was to last.
After a good first round Cintron had his head snapped back by several Margarito uppercuts in round two and the message was sent. While tagging Margarito often, he never did hurt the California resident while Cintron was obviously affected by the pop in Margarito’s punches.
While both fighter’s only defense is there offense, and this approach provided for an action packed dream of a fight, it was not a good move for the soon to be ex-champion. As Margarito, bleeding over his left eye since a round two headbutt, landed an average of 34 power shots a round, and out-totaled Cintron 207-89 in the bomb department (according to Compu-Box), Cintron must be applauded as he went out as a true champion.
Totally beaten by the end of round five, Cintron hurting and desperate came out in round six and proudly fought to defend his title. Absorbing much punishment, a big Margarito right to the head followed by a Micky Ward-like left hook to the body sent a crippled Cintron to the canvas where he would not be able to get up and was counted out by referee Earl Brown at 1:56 of round six.
Cintron, now 29-2 (27 KO’s) and always a champion, suffers only his second professional loss (both at the hands of Margarito), while the A level Margarito (36-5 with 26 KO’s) becomes a two-time world champion and seems to be headed to a mega fight against Miguel Cotto this July.
Mike Indri can be contacted at RBFNJMIKE@aol.com