Maybe it was his voice, his attitude, or the outspoken tendencies of the late sportscaster Howard Cosell, but there always was energy in the fights he announced. He announced many historic matches and today’s generation deserves that same energy. History was made in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, not only for Philadelphia, but for the sport of boxing. Cosell would have enjoyed it.
Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones was put in a fight that was supposed to push him to his limits–and he made it look easy. Jones fought Sebastian Lujan, of Santa Fe, Argentina, in a 12-round IBF elimination bout on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard. Should Jones have stopped Lujan? Some say yes, but there’s no need to complain because Jones did a great job under the lights.
Had that fight taken place in Philadelphia or Atlantic City, where Jones’ fan base resides, the crowd would have been buzzing and the fight would have been considered exciting. Any fan can look back on a performance and criticize, but why not accentuate the positive.
Jones controlled every aspect of the fight from the moment he stepped into the ring until the moment he left, and he did it with ease. Lujan consistently came forward and, by using lateral movement and leading with the jab, Jones won nearly every round of the fight.
Jones’ laid-back personality comes out in the ring. He fights a very relaxed and well-composed fight from beginning to end. When it was over, Jones looked as though he could have gone 15 rounds.
Headlining Saturday night’s Top Rank Promotion was the Cotto-Margarito rematch. Cotto gave Margarito some boxing lessons that started just after midnight. He reminded me of a mix of Wilfred Benitez and Sugar Ray Leonard.
This fight was better than other historic fights such as Leonard-Roberto Duran II where Duran quit in the middle of the eighth round. Cotto mirrored the image of a pure boxer that night, a side his fans have not seen much of lately. The typical brawler showed us that he is more than one-dimensional.
By using every weapon in his arsenal–short of the knockout punch–Cotto was nearly flawless. Margarito was swinging at air all night, though he did force the action and made every round a quality round.
Cotto won due to a stoppage before the 10th round. Margarito’s right eye was swollen shut and the ringside physicians called for a halt. Perhaps the fight could have gone on, but for what purpose and at what cost to Margarito’s already surgically repaired eye.
Being in the range of Margarito’s reach and slipping punches and landing crisp clean shots made Cotto look outstanding. Cotto listened to his team between rounds and he executed when the bell sounded. Margarito played right into his game plan and followed Cotto around the ring all night long. Margarito’s eye paid the price!
Going from being a fighter who people thought had lost it all after his knockout loss to Margarito in their first fight, to showcasing his talents last Saturday, Cotto truly impressed me and fought like a champion.
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Brittany Rogers contributes the BAM on Boxing column to PSC. You can also check her out, as well as everything else you need to know on Philly boxing, at PeltzBoxing.com. Follow Brittany on Twitter @bamonboxing and Peltz Boxing @PeltzBoxing.