Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto dominated from the opening bell to retain his World Boxing Council middleweight world title with a crushing victory over Australia’s Daniel Geale on Saturday.
Cotto knocked down Geale twice in the fourth round before referee Harvey Dock stopped the bout at 1 minute, 28 seconds of the fourth in front of a frenzied crowd of 12,100 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Cotto landed a devastating left hook early in the fourth and then finished off the challenger soon after with a series of body shots and a right to the head that sent the Aussie to the canvas for a second time.
Geale got up, but was obviously unable to continue and Dock saved him from further punishment.
The 34-year-old Cotto improved to 40-4 with 33 knockouts and the win now sets up a likely showdown with Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, possibly later this year.
“Let’s do it,” Cotto said. “Before that, I want to spend some time with my family and enjoy them again, but then it is back to LA and training for Canelo.”
Alvarez scored a third-round knockout of James Kirkland in last month’s super welterweight fight.
Cotto, who was fighting for the first time since almost a year ago when he beat Sergio Martinez, wore down Geale with body shots through the first three rounds.
Geale, 34, fell to 31-4 with 16 knockouts. The former world champion suffered his third defeat in his past five fights.
Geale’s previous foray to New York ended with a third-round knockout loss to hard-hitting Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan in July last year. He rebounded with a 12-round decision over Jarrod Fletcher in December last year.
GUERRERO V MARTINEZ
AP, CARSON, California
Robert Guerrero rebounded from a fourth-round knockdown and won a split decision over Aron Martinez in a welterweight bout on Saturday.
The verdict for Guerrero (33-3-1) was booed by a portion of the crowd after the former four-division champion rallied in the second half of the 10-round bout to beat Martinez (19-4-1), a 20-to-1 underdog in some betting venues.
Despite two losses in his past three fights, Guerrero had much more trouble than expected against Martinez, a local journeyman who has lost three of his past four.
Guerrero went down from a heavy combination of Martinez’s punches right before the fourth-round bell after extensive fighting in close. He gathered himself and eked out the decision with solid work from a more cautious distance at the outdoor StubHub Center south of downtown Los Angeles.
Guerrero said his corner “wanted me to get on my jab more, box more, and that’s what I did. I don’t know what it is about this arena, man. It makes me want to stand and trade.”
Judge Max DeLuca scored the bout 95-94 for Martinez, while Eddie Hernandez favored Guerrero 95-94. Judge Jerry Cantu also gave it to Guerrero, 97-92.
Guerrero was blown out by Floyd Mayweather Jr in May 2013 and he won a brutal decision over Yoshihiro Kamegai at StubHub Center last year before losing a one-sided decision to Keith Thurman in March.
Guerrero developed swelling around his left eye in Saturday’s first round and his nose was bleeding by the third while he fought with his back against the ropes.
Late in the fourth, Martinez caught Guerrero with a combination of uppercuts and short punches to the body, sending him to the canvas.
Guerrero beat the count and made it to the fifth, and had better success when he did not fight in close.
Earlier, heavyweight Dominic Breazeale remained unbeaten with a third-round stoppage victory, knocking down Cuba’s Yasmany Consuegra three times.
After getting hit hard the opening round, Breazeale (15-0, 14 KOs) knocked down Consuegra with a right to the head in the second.
The 2012 US Olympian hit Consuegra (17-1) with a right uppercut early in the third before ending it with a left to the head.
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