Originally written on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 10/28/14

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 14: Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico looks on before taking on Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Saturday night, HBO Sports featured a super welterweight battle between Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez. Cotto needed to make a statement against Rodriguez. He was coming off a two consecutive losing streak, so it was either going to be his resurrection or his demise in the sport of boxing. Cotto decided to not only make a statement, but more importantly he re-solidified his place as a top boxing contender. The decision to have the fight in Orlando was already a win for Cotto. Orlando houses the nation’s second largest Puerto Rican population next to New York City, and Cotto was born and raised there as well. It was a pro-Cotto and pro-Puerto Rico crowd all the way. With all the excitement in the air, you just had a feeling that Cotto was going to pull it out in a big way against Rodriguez. Cotto came out and immediately set the pace for the fight. He punished Rodriguez with some brutal blows to the body throughout the first and then finished the second round with a blow that visibly shook Rodriguez. Cotto could smell that Rodriguez was hurt, so when the third round began he wasted no time with his attack. Eighteen seconds into the third it was over. Cotto connected with a beautiful left hand that sent Rodriguez to the ground. Later on Rodriguez would respond by saying: “The ref stopped the fight. He didn’t give me a chance to get up.” According to Compubox, Cotto connected with 54% of his power punches, and that was the story of the night. There was no chance for Rodriguez with that kind of stat on the board. Now the speculation turns to what’s next for Cotto. He’s back in boxing elite, so there are whispers of either Sergio Martinez or Canelo Alvarez. Maybe there’s even hope for a rematch with Floyd Mayweather. However, Martinez or Alvarez seems more likely. Cotto had this to say: “To fight Canelo Top Rank will need to sit down with Goldenboy.…I don’t think of Sergio as an opponent. It’s just speculation.” Only time will tell, but either way it’s safe to say that Miguel Cotto is back as a boxing contender.

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