Austin Trout defeated Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto and defended his WBA Super Welterweight championship with a unanimous decision in front of 13,096 at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in the main event of Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader.
In a fight that was closer than the 117-11 (twice) and 119-109 judges’ scorecards indicated, Trout (26-0, 14 KO’s) handed Cotto his first loss at the Mecca of Boxing and in New York. Entering the fight, Cotto was 7-0 at MSG and was fighting in his 21st consecutive world title fight.
In a competitive fight with a little of everything – solid boxing, inside action and back-and-forth momentum swings – Trout scored the biggest win of his career despite a hostile and vocal crowd. Trout, of Las Cruces, N.M., came out strong and established his jab early in the fight, but Cotto (37-4, 30 KO’s) came back in the middle rounds and was able to get inside with his power punches. Trout came back, dominated the championship rounds and surprised the pro-Cotto crowd with his power and aggressive game plan.
“Miguel Cotto is a great champion,” said Trout. “He’s a great fighter and it was an honor to be in the same ring as him. It’s even more of an honor to be the man to beat him. To have my hand raised against a kingpin like Miguel Cotto is a dream come true.
“Those shots that Cotto hit me with were strong and I knew he’d be strong, but it reconfirmed that take those shots. It was definitely the hardest fight of my career and when you fight someone as big as Miguel Cotto, it motivated me.
SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray asked Trout if he wanted to fight 154-pound champ Canelo Alvarez, who Cotto was scheduled to face had he dethroned the champion.
“Give me Canelo – it’s time to unify this division” Trout said. “There are a lot of good fighters out there and I want to be the best.”
When asked by Gray what he thought went wrong in the fight and if he agreed with the scorecards, Cotto simply replied, “Ask the public.”
In the 236th world title bout at MSG, Cotto was aiming to ruin the perfect record of an opponent for the sixth time in his career, but the three-division champ wasn’t able to hurt the younger, bigger, undefeated titlist.
“I’m satisfied with the job I did tonight,” Cotto said. “I’ll go back to Puerto Rico and think. He came at me with both hands and it was a great fight. He fought until the end. I’m really thankful for all of my fans who were here to supported me tonight. There’s nothing like fighting at Madison Square Garden.”
In the co-featured bout, undefeated prospect Jayson Velez made a statement for a world title shot with an impressive third round knockout of Salvador Sanchez II, the 15th of his career.
The Puerto Rican Velez unleashed an onslaught of punches on Sanchez II in the second, who displayed a strong chin but was knocked down in the final seconds of the round as Velez (20-0, 15 KO’s) continued to land punishing blows. Sanchez II (30-5-3, 18 KO’s), who was wearing the trunks of his legendary uncle, Mexican Salvador Sanchez, was knocked down again to open the third, got up, but the constant and damaging punches continued and the referee stopped the bout at 0:38.
“It was easier than I thought,” Velez said. “I thought it would be a little more difficult. I was connecting so easily. This is a very exciting moment for me. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”
In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING opener, Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs thoroughly dominated Chris Fitzpatrick en route to a technical knockout victory. Jacobs (24-1, 21 KO’s), who won every round, assaulted Fitzpatrick with a barrage of punches to close out the fifth, and Fitzpatrick quit on his stool following the round.
“I felt pretty good today. I wanted to take my time. I heard a few boos, but I hope the crowd appreciates it. I’m satisfied. I let my hands go. I’m just glad that I got five rounds to get the rust out. I’m back as a contender. We don’t want to jump the gun, but I think I’m back.
Fitzpatrick (15-3, 6 KO’s), of Cleveland, Ohio, was cut on the top of his head by a clash of heads to open the third round from an accidental head butt. The sight of blood seemed the energize Jacobs, who fought aggressively and dominated the remainder of the bout.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING host Brian Kenny interviewed Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia during the telecast. It was announced on Saturday at a press conference in New York that Garcia will defend his titles against former Two-Division World ChampionZab “Super” Judah on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Saturday’s press conference turned into a brawl when Garcia’s father, Angel, stated that his son would knock out the Brooklyn native. Judah took offense and the fighters and their camps had to be separated.
“Zab’s a crafty fighter, but I’m on top of my game and I’m ready to perform on February 9th,” Garcia said during the telecast. “It’s crazy because all the guys I grew up watching I’m fighting now. It’s a blessing to be in the ring with these guys and I’m taking over.
“My dad was just stating true facts. Every time he [Judah] took a tough fight, he failed. Zab got mad, it broke out and there was a little riot at the press conference. My dad motivates me, he talks crap and I got to go back it up. If a fight breaks out, then I got his back.”
Tonight’s fights will replay on SHOWTIME EXTREME on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Dec. 4. .
Kenny served as host of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING with Mauro Ranallo calling the action, Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi serving as expert analysts with Jim Gray reporting. David Dinkins Jr. was the Executive Producer with Bob Dunphy directing.