Black referee now considered the best in the business
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - Last weekend’s big welterweight battle between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito was predicted to launch boxing’s next superstar, but that man was not throwing any blows are taking any either.
Margarito emerged as the fighter with the most promise after pounding Cotto into submission in the 11th round, but the man who really shined was Las Vegas referee Kenny Bayless.
Bayless was the choice of the Nevada Athletic Commission to officiate the most significant fight of the year and arguably one of the most attractive during the past 10 years and there could not have been a more perfect choice.
While Cotto was building what appeared to be an insurmountable lead during the first half of the 12 round bout, Bayless like a good referee was invisible, allowing for the fighting stars to show their craft.
After the sixth round when Margarito began catching the undefeated Puerto Rican star, Bayless was right there prevent Cotto for clinching too much, thus allowing for the aggressive Margarito to wear down the champion.
There isn’t one sports fan in the country, who attends a sporting event to watch the referee, but lately that’s about all you read or hear about. The millionaire athletes themselves are even complaining.
In the sport of boxing a good referee is critical, especially when the styles are so contrasting as they were with Margarito and Cotto, but Bayless was just fantastic.
With Bayless in center and the proud flags of native Mexico and Puerto Rico swinging with each rousing chant for their favorite son, yet another chapter was written in this storied rivalry between fighters of these countries on the dry desert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Undefeated WBA welterweight champion began his chapter to stardom by boxing and moving against his toughest opponent to date in the name of Antonio Margarito.
But by the second round of this epic candidate for fight of the year both their natural instincts took over and a fight broke out.
Margarito finding his comfort zone winging to the body and catching Cotto with an uppercut that bloodied the nose of the champion, and Cotto counter by using swift jabs and lethal combinations that peppered the Mexican.
As the third, fourth and six rounds came and went so to did it seem of any chance that Margarito may have had of winning as Cotto used his speed and swift foot movement to put together combinations and then get away from the challenger before he could counter.
Then like a swirling eye of a hurricane, Margarito-the Tornado caught Cotto flush to the body, and then the head with a left and right and had the champion stunned and dazed, he would escape the round, but narrowly, grabbing Margarito and hanging on for deal life.
There would be more of the same in the seventh and Cotto appeared to stop the momentum by the eighth, but the ninth and critical 10th round were all Margarito and were it not for Cotto’s desperate clinches it probably would have been over then.
But that inevitable conclusion will arrive for Cotto in the 11th as Margarito continued his assault, punishing he champ with right hands to the head, Cotto bloodied and ready to take a bow, went down from one assault and then took a knee as if to surrender and referee Bayless waving it off, even before the towel got thrown in.
And so, was any such super stardom for the uncrowned Cotto (32-1/ 26 KOs) who lost for the first time in 33 fights and Margarito (37-5/27 KOs) notched one in the victory column for Mexico much to the delight of the split crowd and one proud legacy in that tradition, Cesar Chavez.
Now, Margarito with the new WBA strap around his waist has all of the options and perhaps one of them may even be Cotto again. That is if he ever recovers from this one.
THE UNDER CARD
Cesar Canchila of Monteria, Colombian won his 20th consecutive fight and became the mandatory challenger for the WBA light flyweight championship with a hard working unanimous decision over Bell Gardens, California No. 1 light flyweight contender Giovani Segura.
Canchila overcame a second round knockdown and worked downstairs and up to the head battering the face of Segura to earn the decision and claim the WBA Interim title.
Canchila improved to a 27-1 (21 KOs) and handed Segura his first defeat. Segura is now 19-1-1.
The knockout trend continued when undefeated Mike Alvarado of Thornton, Colorado caught former lightweight champion Cesar Bazan on the ropes with a bevy of shots to send him crumpled to the canvas.
Bazan, 33 years old, of Mexico City, Mexico lost for the third time in his last five bouts and the fourth time during his last six and may has seen his career come to a conclusion with this fight.
Alvarado, not known as a power puncher, scored his 15th KO in 22 consecutive victories. Referee Russell Mora waved off the count at 2:46 of the fourth round. Bazan record decreased to 48-11-1 (31 KOs).
The HBO Pay Per View show opened with a super bantam weight attraction featuring Manny Paquiao stable mate Bernabe Concepcion who was prohibitive favorite over Adam Carrera of Cathedral City, California, and didn’t work long.
Using a combination of body shots and stabilizing jabs, Concepcion smashed out Carrera with a sensational second round knockout. He first dropped Carrera with a gazing right to the temple in the second round and then with his prey still shaky after the count of eight , polished him off with a perfect right uppercut to improve his record to 26-1-1 (15 KOs).
The official time came at 2:14 of the second round. Carerra fell to 19-4 (8 KOs), while Concepcion of Rizal Province, Phillipines will move on to bigger and stiffer competition.
Miguel Cotto sat ringside during early portion of the under card to watch his undefeated prospect Jesus Rojas from his native Caguas, Puerto Rico and he wasn’t the slight bit disappointed.
Rojas was punishing and spectacular enroute to a one-sided unanimous decision over the game Anyetei Laryea of Accra Ghana.
On his way to improved to an unblemished 13-0 (10 KOs), Rojas pummeled Laryea with whipping uppercuts, lefts and rights and had his foe on the canvas twice during the bout. Laryea fell to 16-5 (9 KOs).