BROOKLYN -- The suitors all lined up at ringside. In one row sat Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, two major representatives of Golden Boy Promotions and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. On the other side of the ring at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night sat Gennady Golovkin, all smiles and curious.
They were all there to see, scout, probe and possibly coax Miguel Cotto into fighting them next.
But first, Cotto (40-4, 33 knockouts) had to defend the WBC and lineal middleweight title in getting by rugged Australian Daniel Geale, which Cotto did rather easily - weighing 153.6 the previous night - in stopping Geale at 1:28 of the fourth round before 12,157. After a pair of devastating knockdowns by Cotto in the fourth round, referee Harvey Dock scooped up Geale (31-4, 16 KOs) and whispered into Geale’s ear. Geale just shook his head, ‘no,’ most probably to the question of whether he wanted to continue.
It lines up the strong possibility of a showdown with Alvarez in September, possibly in Las Vegas.
“Canelo would be just another fight,” Cotto said. “If the people want that fight, it will happen.”
Related » Cotto vs. Geale Round-by-Round Scoring
Geale had no recourse against the much faster Puerto Rican superstar, saying afterward, “He went too fast; I’m obviously disappointed.”
Geale was so out of it that he had to ask his trainer, Graham Shaw, how many rounds the fight went.
From the start, it was apparent Cotto was going for the blitz. He’s credited Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach for revising his style that’s created a new confidence. After Cotto extinguished Geale, he ran over and hugged Roach, telling the trainer, “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
After Dock waived the fight over, De La Hoya, Hopkins and Golovkin all stood up with blank expressions on their faces. Their look all seemed to say this is a Cotto that they haven’t seen before, a fighter well rounded who could smack down an opponent with left hooks and stinging body shots -- just like Cotto did to Geale.
“I like the fight, I think it’s a good fight, but I like any next fight,” Roach said. “Canelo is a good guy coming up and Miguel is a guy who is getting better and better at what he does.”
On a very thin undercard, Fernando Vargas (29-9-2, 20 KOs) won a mundane eight-round featherweight battle over former WBO super bantamweight world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (24-5-1, 19 KOs), which Vargas easily won by scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75. Vargas was coming off a loss to 7-4-2 Andres Tapia and Vazquez Jr. was 3-3 over his last six fights.
“The guy was a past world champion and I was coming off a loss, so this was big for me,” Vargas said. “I’m ready for a world title, I think. I’m so happy I don’t know what to think. I’ll fight anybody. I think my head movement is better than it was before. I’m in a new gym, the same one where Erik Morales trains. But it was important my defense was better, better than I used to do before.”
Junior Younan (7-0, 6 knockouts), who's 19, remained undefeated after pummeling late replacement Mike Sawyer (6-4, 4 KOs) in a fight at light heavyweight. Younan, a natural super middleweight, stopped the rough Sawyer at 2:29 of the second displaying good hand speed and a penchant for left hooks.
Joseph Santoliquito is the president of the Boxing Writer's Association of America and a frequent contributor to Sherdog.com's mixed martial arts and boxing coverage. His archive can be found here.
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