BLOG: Cotto TKOs Jennings to claim WBO belt
NEW YORK -- 9:30 p.m. -- And we're back! Seated alongside SI boxing editor Rich O'Brien, I'm Chris Mannix here to bring you live coverage of the Miguel Cotto-Michael Jennings welterweight title fight. As you can see the crowd is starting to stream in here at Madison Square Garden in anticipation of Cotto's big comeback. Rich, what are your keys to... Wait...we're not on TV?
9:34 p.m. -- Well, we should be. In the absence of cameras, I guess our words are just going to have to do. We'll leave analysis of the Kelly Pavlik-Marco Antonio Rubio middleweight title bout to SI.com colleague Bryan Graham, who will be picking up the blogging at the end of Cotto-Jennings. But for tonight's fight at the Garden, I'll say this: Expect a blowout. Jennings, whose name, as RO'B points out, sounds more like one of a track star than a professional fighter, has had a nice career fighting exclusively in the United Kingdom. But he's not in Cotto's class. This one may not end in an early knockout, but one way or another Cotto will emerge as the lopsided winner.
9:40 p.m. -- Kudos to ESPN.com boxing guru Dan Rafael for bashing his own network in a recent chat. In case you missed it, Dan appeared on ESPN's First Take to discuss the Pavlik and Cotto fights. He was asked (and I'm paraphrasing here) if Miguel Cotto and Kelly Pavlik both emerge winners, could they face each other. Nevermind that Cotto and Pavlik are seperated by two weight classes.
9:43 p.m. -- Popular Irishman John Duddy is in the ring now. Duddy, if you recall, saw his career tripped up after he struggled in a win over Walid Smichet last February. At the moment, Duddy handling the unheralded Matt Vanda.
9:44 p.m. -- From RO'B: "Duddy still gets hit too much and doesn't use his jab enough"
9:56 -- Duddy isn't exactly distinguishing himself here. RO'B has Duddy winning all five rounds, but he hasn't looked at all impressive. Pavlik would have put this guy away in four.
10:06 -- Seven rounds in and I'm still waiting for the real John Duddy to please stand up. But maybe this is the real Duddy. Maybe we were all fooled by the early knockouts that defined the first four years of his career. Maybe he just isn't that good.
10:07 -- And we've had our first crowd fight. It's not a boxing event without a crowd fight. By the way, RO'B just gave the eighth round to the guy in the stands.
10:16 -- Duddy just got absolutely hammered in the 10th round. No question Duddy won the fight, but any dreams of being a PPV headliner are on hold--maybe permanently.
10:19 -- Another win for Duddy, keeping his perfect record intact. Still, I don't think Pavlik is shaking in his shoes.
10:25 -- Obligatory Michael Buffer Joke: I'm curious, what would Buffer do without his voice? Here's a short list:
1. Selling his likeness for the man they put on the top of wedding cakes
2. The guy with the gleaming smile in the Orbit gum commercials
3. Hair Club for Men ads
10:29 -- The crowd is booing the British national anthem. Unbelievable. This happened two years ago in Las Vegas, when the Brits booed the U.S. anthem before the Ricky Hatton-Floyd Mayweather fight. Way to go, New York. Way to go.
10:34 -- Betting alert! Cotto closed at a -1300 favorite, meaning unless you are independently wealthy and can afford to make a massive investment in Cotto, don't bother. That doesn't seem to stop blog favorite Cheapo Tony, who has chimed in that he has 100 on Cotto. By my less-than-expert calculations, that puts CT in line to win about $5.
10:35 -- Cotto is in the house! A refresher, Cotto is immensley popular in NY. The Puerto Rican population comes out in droves for his fights which is why most of his big ones are here.
10:37 -- On a personal note, the ponytail-to-no-ponytail ratio amongst people who work in the boxing industry is way to close for my comfort. And here we go ...
ROUND 1: Amidst thundering applause, Cotto comes out cautious. Jennings is moving his feet well but Cotto knocks him back with a straight right hand. Cotto is clearly the aggressor as Jennings is backpedaling. Good right to the body by Cotto makes Jennings wince. Another body shot! Jennings is all defense at this point. No aggressive movements by the Brit. Good round for Cotto. 10-9 Cotto
10:42 -- Switched at birth: Jennings and Miami Heat guard Chris Quinn.
ROUND 2: Jennings more aggressive early but his punches have no force behind them. Cotto's defense is impeccable. A jab knocks Jennings back. A left hook moves him across the ring. Good shots by Cotto, but I don't think Jennings is hurt yet. Good flurry at the end might have won Cotto the round. 10-9 Cotto
ROUND 3: Jennings still active, but Cotto is landing the harder shots. Good combination by Cotto rocks Jennings back. Cotto is working the body well, which should pay dividends in the later rounds. Nice jab by Jennings, which Cotto acknowledges with a nod. Cotto continues to catch most of Jennings's punches with his gloves. More body shots for Cotto, who closes the round well. 10-9 Cotto
ROUND 4: Cotto keeps stalking Jennings. You have to wonder how long Jennings can keep it up. Jennings is valiantly trying throw combinations but there is nothing on 'em. Good right hand by Cotto. Jennings is hurt! He's down! Hard right hand by Cotto dropped him. 30 second to go. Jennings down again! Can he survive?? His nose is gushing. He survives! Cotto 10-7
ROUND 5: Jennings is in trouble, folks. He's starting to look like the major underdog. Cotto keeps advancing ("Jennings doesn't know how to clinch," says RO'B). The pace is slowing. I don't think Cotto is tired but he's just not attacking. Good right hand by Cotto. Jennings is trapped! Barely escapes. Good left hand by Cotto. In the corner again. Jennings down! The ref has stopped it!
10:58 -- Tremendous performance by Cotto, who systematically destroyed the challenger. Any lingering doubts that Cotto might be negatively affected by the loss to Antonio Margarito last July have been erased.
11:00 -- Thanks for tuning in blog fans, I now turn it over to Bryan Graham for Pavlik-Rubio. This is the made-for-TV duo (you hear that HBO, Showtime, Versus) of Chris Mannix and Rich O'Brien signing off.