Neither Miguel Cotto nor Kelly Pavlik, the two rising stars whose ascendance was stalled last year by the first losses of their careers, proved all that much by beating inferior opponents Saturday night. What they did prove was the bare minimum they had to: that neither are severely diminished from 2008 defeats that were both physically and mentally taxing.
Even John Duddy had a good night, boxing better than I would have ever expected instead of getting lured into a chaotic brawl. Top Rank couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more out of the card. A top middleweight (160 lbs.) propsect, Matt Korobov, had the roughest night, and he still closed with a highlight reel, last-second knockout. The better-than-expected Duddy decision win over Matt Vanda preserves and even enhances the option of a Pavlik-Duddy bout, which Top Rank believes will sell gangbusters. Most importantly, Cotto, the welterweight (147 lbs.) star who defeated underqualified but better-than-feared Michael Jennings by 5th round TKO, and Pavlik, the middleweight champion who defeated a surprisingly timid Marco Antonio Rubio by 9th round retirement, aren’t transparently damaged goods.
We’ll come back with fuller analysis soon, but that’s the gist. If you paid $45, like I did, I can’t say you got your money’s worth. If you skipped it for that amount, good for you. If you’re a fan of Pavlik and Cotto, as I am, you’re happy with the result, anyway.