Cotto stops Jennings to become champ

AP , NEW YORK

Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 19

Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico is the new WBO welterweight champion after he stopped England’s Michael Jennings at 2:36 of the fifth round at Madison Square Garden.

Cotto dominated, dropping Jennings twice in the fourth round with merciless body shots and once in the fifth before the fight was stopped.

A slow starter, Cotto (33-1, 27 KOs) patiently stalked the lightly regarded and overmatched Jennings, cutting off the ring and landing a steady barrage of head and body shots.

Once the glaring Cotto found his mark, the fight was all but over, with Cotto connecting on more than 50 percent of his power punches. Jennings (34-2, 16 KOs) couldn’t survive Cotto’s maelstrom of punches that have demolished plenty of talented fighters.

PAVLIK V MARCO

AP, YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO

Kelly Pavlik answered his doubters and retained his WBC and WBO middleweight titles by forcing a retirement by Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday.

The American, fighting in front of his hometown crowd, dominated Rubio from the start, responding to those who questioned whether he was the world’s top middleweight after being beaten by Bernard Hopkins in a non-title bout last October.

“There’s no place like home,” the 26-year-old Pavlik said.

Pavlik outclassed and outpunched Rubio almost the entire fight, hurting him in the eighth and battering him throughout the ninth, after which the Mexican’s corner decided he couldn’t continue.