Sunday, June 13, 2010
Ivan Calderon vs. Jesus Iribe was the main event on fight night, Saturday, June 13, 2010, the night before the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City. A night where Puerto Rican pride, Miguel Cotto usually fights, but since he fought Yuri Foreman last weekend for the WBA Light Middleweight championship, the main event went to lesser known Calderon.
Calderon gave his usual clinic on footwork, dodging Iribe's bombs and popping him with counter-shots all night long. Iribe became increasingly frustrated throughout the fight, putting everything into his punches and only getting air. The fight was a little lackluster overall and was completely outshone by a 4-round undercard fight between Takashi Okada (1-0-1) of Japan and McWilliams Arroyo (3-0-0) of Puerto Rico.
Arroyo, an exciting prospect, fought well for Puerto Rico in the amateurs, earning a silver medal in the 2005 Pan American Championship games, a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics held in Michigan in his division and being named Puerto Rico's Youth Boxer of the Year in 2003.
Okada, relocated to California from Japan, has most recently been a sparring partner for Rodel Mayol, one of main event fighter Ivan Calderon's two-time opponents.
Arroyo was favored to win because of his hard-hitting, aggressive style, but it was apparent from the first bell that this was not going to be a walk in the park for either fighter. Okada took control immediately, snapping jabs and dictating the pace. Arroyo was forced to box and play defense for the majority of the first round. Okada dropped Arroyo in the second round and though he got to his feet quickly, Arroyo was visibly wobbly. The third and fourth rounds saw an incredible see-saw of shots going back and forth, with Okada looking to be in trouble at one point, but bouncing back to be the aggressor and ultimately winning the decision. Arroyo suffered his first loss, though without shame, making his record 3-1-0 while Okada's record improved to 2-0-1.
This was the most exciting 4-round fight most fans, (including this one,) have ever seen. It was a toe-to-toe battle of will and ability - just the kind of fight we all want to see. I for one, cannot wait to see these two fight again. If it is a 10-round fight next time, I can easily foresee it being a contender for fight of the year.
Monday, June 7, 2010
As Cotto returns to former glory, his fans return to full pitch at Yankee Stadium.
It was a great site to behold; thousands of fans at legendary Yankee Stadium waiting to see the once bright up-and-comer, Miguel Cotto return to glory after suffering severe losses at the (loaded) hands of Antonio Margarito and the seemingly invincible Manny Pacquiao.
People had considered Cotto down for the count after those monumental losses and the injuries endured even during his winning fight against Joshua Clottey, but Cotto came to the ring with something to prove, and he knew he had to deliver. Perhaps it was the new trainer in Emanuel Steward or perhaps it was the shiny WBA Light Middleweight title belt on the line, but whatever it was, it worked. Cotto, fighting most recently at Welterweight, seemed a natural Light Middleweight, bossing Yuri Foreman around the ring for the duration of the fight. Foreman, a game yet arguably untested world title holder did little to stave off the aggressive and powerful Cotto. Emanuel Steward's training was evident right off the bat as Cotto's footwork and movement seemed vastly improved since his last fight against Pacquiao, (though Pacquiao can make anyone look like they're dancing in cement.)
It is clear that Cotto has come to fight as soon as the bell rings. Aggressively sticking his jab, Cotto turtles up only for a moment during the 1st round. The 2nd round sees more of Cotto's jab and also a more aggressive Foreman, working his jab as well. Cotto lands more punches, working Foreman's body with his left hook and takes the round. The 3rd round is more about the body and hooks from both fighters. Strangely enough, Foreman's mouthpiece falls out and referee Arthur Mercante Jr. demands Cotto's corner to clean it off while adamantly telling trainer, Emanuel Steward not to speak to the fighter.
The 4th round sees the best exchanges of the fight, with both fighters landing stiff jabs and powerful exchanges. Cotto's defense also seems to have improved under Steward's tutelage and it's a toss-up as to who wins the round. Foreman seems to weaken in the 5th and 6th rounds, though there are some good hooks landed by both fighters.
A slip in the 7th round has Foreman limping and Cotto rushing in to finish the job, but Foreman's heart wins out the round. Foreman falls and limps his way through the first half of the 8th round until a towel comes flying into the ring from his corner. Cotto's corner comes rushing in and starts celebrating their victory until referee Mercante announces that the fight isn't over and everybody needs to clear the ring. Apparently, Foreman's corner denies throwing the towel in, although it was clearly a corner towel, and so the fight goes back on. Mercante gets respect for taking control of the situation and clearing the ring so quickly, even though the fight should have been ended at that point.
Slightly confused, both fighters regain composure and continue fighting until it becomes blatantly obvious to referee Mercante that Foreman isn't in any shape to keep fighting, so the fight is stopped for real this time.
Miguel Cotto wins the WBA Light Middleweight Title and wins his fans the world over...again. Foreman gains new fans by showing incredible heart in the ring and can hold his head high. Where will each fighter go from here? Can't wait to find out.
Congratulations on an awesome victory Cotto!!!