Cotto Impresses; Wlad Klitschko Breezes; Congo Wins at Bellator 102


miguel cotto13Cotto turns back clock in TKO rout

By Dan Rafael |

Cotto Scores TKO Victory
ORLANDO, Fla. — Miguel Cotto, written off by many after back-to-back losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout, obviously isn’t done just yet.

In fact, he still looks like a baaaaad man. A very bad man.

Cotto, in one of his most explosive performances in years, blew away longtime fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez in the third round of a one-sided junior middleweight fight on Saturday
night at the Amway Center, the arena of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, which hosted a boxing card for the first time.

The crowd of 11,912 — including a large Puerto Rican contingent — were on hand to cheer on the island icon, and he gave them their money’s worth in a tremendous performance.

After the loss to Trout last December, Cotto took some time off and then this summer parted ways with trainer Pedro Diaz. For his comeback, Cotto hired Hall of Fame trainer Freddie
Roach to work with him.

Cotto went to Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., and the pairing obviously clicked. Roach wanted Cotto to get back to being the offensive machine he had been for so many
years, when he was a three-division world champion from junior welterweight to junior middleweight. Namely, Roach wanted to see more body work and more left hooks, two of Cotto’s
fiercest weapons.

He delivered both. Big time.

“I felt like I was watching the old Miguel Cotto. Just like a surgeon,” said Top Rank president Todd duBoef, whose personal relationship with Cotto paved the way for him to return to
the promoter he had been with for his entire career except for the past two fights, both losses. “He diced Rodriguez up, pushed him back, bullied him. He was efficient and he fought
great. He used the body so well. He stayed in the pocket. That’s the Miguel Cotto we all fell in love with and the Miguel Cotto who was so effective.

“Look at this place. Everybody is saying how amazing he looked. My phone is blowing up, and this place is electric.”

Cotto wasted no time going right to Rodriguez’s body in the opening round. Of the 24 punches Cotto landed in the energetic frame, 13 were to the body. Rodriguez looked like he was
feeling every one of them.

In the second round, Cotto began to crank up the left hook. He was taking it to Rodriguez, who landed almost nothing, and at the end of the round Cotto badly staggered Rodriguez with
an overhand right and a left hook.

“Anyone who lays on the ropes against Cotto is a dead fighter,” Roach said. “We started with the body first to wear him down. Our plan was to break him down with body shots.”

Rodriguez (28-7-3, 16 KOs), 33, a native of the Dominican Republic from Danbury, Conn., couldn’t really recover between rounds, and it was in the third that Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), 32,
destroyed him, landing a huge left hook that sent Rodriguez staggering into the ropes and then another left and right to the head as he was falling. Referee Frank Santore nearly
tripped over Rodriguez trying to get between the fighters as he called off the fight 18 seconds into the round, sending the crowd into delirium.

“I felt the power go right through my arm. I hit him flush,” Cotto said. “Thank you, Freddie Roach. This all started in my first day of training camp with Freddie Roach. All of this is
from hard work with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card. It all came together.

“I just wanted to make me and everyone happy with my performance. It feels good bringing it back to basics, fighting back at grassroots level.”

Rodriguez barely knew what hit him.

“I was trying to relax and get a rhythm, but when he came in with the hook, he dazed me [at the end of the second round],” said Rodriguez, a former two-time title challenger. “I didn’t
feel like he was that strong at the beginning of the fight, but then he hit me with the hook. I was trying to get a rhythm, but he has that weird movement, jumping in and out all the
time. I should have known better than to relax in the ring against a guy with that kind of power.”

Roach had raved about how Cotto looked throughout training camp, and the praise continued after the fight.

“To see where he came from to where he is today is unbelievable,” Roach said. “He had the best camp of any fighter I ever trained. It was an explosive performance, more than I

That is saying a lot, considering Roach has trained a who’s who of fighters during his career, most notably eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao.

“It was a great performance,” Roach said. “Body shots broke him down and head shots finished him. Line ’em up. Cotto is ready to fight anyone.”

Although Cotto, who earned $2 million plus a share of the profits from the event, returned to Top Rank after the two-fight absence for this fight, he is a free agent once again, not
bound to a promoter or television network. That means he could pursue any number of fights, including a possible rematch with Mayweather or a showdown with Mexican star Canelo Alvarez.
But another serious possibility would be for him to challenge Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship.

DuBoef hopes Cotto will stay with him.

“We discussed this from the beginning when he decided to come back — that we’d figure it out and make it work,” duBoef said. “We have a relationship that is more than business. I
think we’re a really good combination. Look what he did tonight.”

The prospect of fighting for the middleweight title is an interesting one for Cotto and one Top Rank could likely deliver by making a deal with Martinez promoter Lou DiBella. After
all, the companies worked well together last year when they made Martinez against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“To be the first Puerto Rican to win titles in four weight divisions would be very tempting to me,” said Cotto, who had fought in 21 consecutive world title fights before facing
Rodriguez. “I have to talk to my team, but going for a middleweight championship would be [a goal].”

If Top Rank remains part of that team, it is a fight the company would like to make.

“I think that fight would be a natural progression,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. “That should be a goal to fight for the middleweight championship. It would be a great
accomplishment and it would mean loads of money for him, the opponent.”

DuBoef concurred.

“I think Sergio Martinez is a dream match with the great Argentine support Martinez would get and the Puerto Rican supporters for Cotto. Miguel would love to win the middleweight
title. The way he looked Saturday night, there are not many people who could stop him from 154 to 160.”



wlad klitWladimir Klitschko retains titles

by Associated Press
Wladimir Klitschko Retains Titles
MOSCOW — Wladimir Klitschko retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles Saturday night, unanimously outpointing previously undefeated Alexander Povetkin.

Klitschko knocked down Povetkin three times in the seventh round.

In what was supposed to be the most difficult challenge of his career, Wladimir Klitschko dominated Alexander Povetkin.

All three judges ruled 119-104 for Klitschko (61-3). Povetkin lost for the first time in 27 fights.

“Povetkin is a fighter with high spirit,” said Klitschko’s older brother, Vitali. “He fought till the end. I do not think the bout could have been finished earlier. If Wladimir could
do it he would have certainly done it.”

Klitschko stuck to his usual tactics, scoring frequently off his left jab and forcing Povetkin to attack, but the Russian rarely succeeded.

Klitschko first knocked Povetkin down with a combination 51 seconds into the seventh round. He floored Povetkin again with a left hook 35 seconds later, and again with 57 seconds left,
but the Russian recovered.

Povetkin became the mandatory challenger for Klitschko when he beat Hasim Rahman last year. Povetkin lost his regular WBA title, which he had defended four times before falling to

The latter gave up the belt in 2011 when he was elevated by the WBA to super champion after beating David Haye.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press


cheik congoKnee Strikes Propel UFC Veteran Cheick Kongo Past Mark Godbeer at Bellator 102

By Brian Knapp


Cheick Kongo seems to like his new home.

The French kickboxer brutalized Mark Godbeer with a series of knee strikes to the body and head in the Bellator MMA Season 9 heavyweight tournament semifinals at Bellator 102 on Friday at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, Calif. Godbeer (8-2, 0-1) succumbed to the blows 2:04 into round two.

In his first appearance outside the Ultimate Fighting Championship in nearly nine years, Kongo (19-8-2, 1-0 Bellator) wore down the Englishman with takedowns and clinches. In the
second round, the 38-year-old ducked into the rear waistlock position and attacked Godbeer with knees to the quadriceps and hamstrings. From there, the knees only grew in intensity.
Kongo pinned the Trojan Freefighters representative on the cage, targeted his head and body and fired away until referee “Big” John McCarthy intervened.

“I heard my cornerman tell me to knee him everywhere,” Kongo said. “I threw my knee, and I hurt him.”
‘Spartan’ Dispatches Johnson in 23 Seconds

A right hand knocked Johnson flat.Team Nogueira’s Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz knocked out Lavar Johnson with a blinding but brutal right hand in the Season 9 heavyweight tournament
semifinals. De Queiroz (7-3, 2-1 Bellator) wiped out the monstrous Californian 23 seconds into round one, as he recorded the sixth first-round finish of his 10-fight career.

Moving backward, “Spartan” countered a jab with a right cross to Johnson’s jaw, sending him to the canvas in a face-first dive. A few follow-up blows awakened Johnson (17-8, 0-1
Bellator) from his brief slumber, and though he protested the stoppage, he did not have much of a case.

“I came in here to try and take him out because I know he has very heavy hands,” de Queiroz said. “I have a lot of respect for the guy.”
Silva Outgrapples, Outpoints Leone

Silva crusied to a decision against Leone.Renovacao Fight Team export Rafael Silva cruised to his 13th consecutive win, as he took a unanimous decision from World Extreme Cagefighting
veteran Anthony Leone in the Summer Series bantamweight tournament final. Silva (21-3, 2-0 Bellator) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 marks, earning a $100,000 payday and a
crack at reigning Bellator 135-pound champion Eduardo Dantas.

Takedowns and a stifling takedown fueled the Brazilian’s latest conquest, as he repeatedly grounded Leone (13-6, 3-3 Bellator), transitioning to his back in each of the first two

The American’s offense was limited to occasional overhand rights. His final burst was snuffed out late in round three, where Silva countered a takedown with an immediate reversal and
settled back in top position.
Danish Prospect Parlo Decisions Butcher

Parlo clearly outclassed Butcher.Powerful punching combinations and an effective sprawl carried Danish prospect Mikkel Parlo to a unanimous verdict over Jason Butcher in the Season 9
middleweight tournament semifinals. All three cageside judges scored it for Parlo (11-1, 3-1 Bellator): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Butcher (7-1, 4-1 Bellator) never got in gear, his 23-year-old counterpart denying his advances at every turn. Parlo did his best work in the second round, where he bloodied the West
Virginian’s nose, shut down his takedown attempts and nearly finished him with a punishing volley in the closing seconds.

Needing a stoppage, Butcher did not have enough in the tank to pursue the victory in round three.

“I would like to have finished him,” Parlo said. “It was hard because he was running a lot.”
Ward Guillotine Submits Pacheco

Ward hit a power guillotine on Pacheco.Brennan Ward submitted the previously unbeaten Joe Pacheco with a second-round guillotine choke in the Season 9 middleweight tournament
semifinals. Pacheco (6-1, 2-1 Bellator) conceded defeat 2:41 into round two, the North Carolinian beaten for the first time in seven professional appearances.

Pacheco started strong, as he delivered a pair of takedowns, threatened with various submissions and moved to full mount in the first round. Ward (8-1, 4-1 Bellator) answered in round
two, where he caught the overzealous 28-year-old in a guillotine, switched to a figure-four grip and awaited surrender.

Ward has finished his last three opponents, two of them by submission.
Prelims: Ayala KOs ‘Big Monster’ Santos at Buzzer

Cleve put away DeJesus with punches.Javy Ayala (6-3, 1-0 Bellator) knocked out Team Nogueira’s Thiago Santos (11-3, 3-2 Bellator) with a two-punch combination at the buzzer in the
first round of their heavyweight battle; Scott Cleve (14-3, 1-0 Bellator) put away former Tachi Palace Fights champion Isaac DeJesus (10-6-1, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 3:14 into the
second round of their featherweight encounter; Brandon Girtz (9-3, 1-2 Bellator) submitted Poppies Martinez (27-9, 0-1 Bellator) with an armbar 1:20 into the first round of their
lightweight tilt; Millennia MMA’s Stephen Martinez (10-2, 1-0 Bellator) choked Bryan Travers (14-4, 0-1 Bellator) unconscious with a guillotine 56 seconds into the first round of their
catchweight affair; Carrizosa tapped out Quesada.Cain Carrizosa (5-0, 1-0 Bellator) kept his perfect professional record intact, as he submitted Juan Quesada with a triangle choke 4:51
into the second round of their clash at 155 pounds; and Brandon Cash (8-3, 1-0 Bellator) stopped William Richey (10-2, 0-1 Bellator) on a technical knockout after the Maximum Fighting
Championship alum quit on his stool prior to the start of the third round of their heavyweight scrap.

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