Philippines, 07 Dec 2022
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The four-bout pay-per-view extravaganza "RELENTLESS" promoted by Top Rank in association with Cotto Promotions, Don King Productions, Tecate and MGM Grand, and produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV that started at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT lived up to its billing and the crowd, all 7,247 of them in attendance at MGM Grand Arena, were on their feet with delight and appreciation. I, myself, never witness until now such a showcase and profound display of boxing skills among boxing warriors coupled with a colorful entertaining antics from one of the protagonists. They were relentless in throwing punches, a lot of those, until one of them either went down, suffer throughout the fight or quit, "NO MAS."

Miguel Cotto, the headliner, defended his WBA super welterweight world championship with a left hook punch that sent his Nicaraguan and colorful challenger, Ricardo Mayorga, to his knee 53rd second of the 12th and last round. But not before keeping his cool, stick to his game plan and ignoring Mayorga's no nonsense shenanigans from the beginning until the TKO.

The main event started with a good omen of joy, satisfaction and entertainment. Don King, one of the promoters, was in his ever smiling and jovial mood. Waving a Nicaraguan flag with his right hand while holding the other flags with his left hand. Then Mr. King transferred another second Nicaraguan flag to his right hand and waved them while the 11-year old Bridget Gonzales belted out the Nicaraguan National Anthem. Mr. King did the same ritual while the Latin Grammy winner, Luis Fonsi, sang the Puerto Rican national anthem but with the Puerto Rican flag. The same ritual followed when Mr. King waved one then the second flag of the United States when Felis Garcia, a performer at Luxor, sang the American national anthem. The singers sang their respective national anthem with perfection and correct pitch and were awarded with an appreciative applause from the crowd after each performance.

The entrance of the Cotto and Mayorga was spectacular by itself. There was an uphill and downhill ramp akin to a red carpet entrance complete with a fighting decor where the boxers stopped and stood at the apex as they are introduced. The arena's light went out followed with a highlight of the boxing ring with people inside in tantalizing red and this flashed repeatedly in awesome fashion and the crowd was stupefied at the visual extravaganza. The sound of "ahhs" and "oohs" reverberated from thereon and continually onto the actual fight.

Before the fight, Cotto was quoted as saying "I know Mayorga very well. He is a written book. Nothing he will say or do will move my peace and concentration. I will do my job in the gym and beat him inside the ring." Mayorga all throughout the fight, brought out a lot of antics under his arsenal coupled with his punching abilities that electrified the crowd. However, at no point that Cotto put his guard down. True to his words, he maintained his composure, fought with a purpose and unleashed his jabs, counter-punching and his own combinations when the moment called for.

In the 5th round, Mayorga was beckoning Cotto with his left hand to follow him from the middle of the ring into the corner. When he reached the corner, he was shouting in full energy and gesturing with both of his gloves pointing down as if saying "here, we fight here." Cotto the ever fighter and with no fear, obliged. He threw some jabs and when Mayorga jumped on him with punches, Cotto avoided them by backing out from the corner. Mayorga went back to the same corner and was again pointing down and shouted, "here, we fight here" to the crowd's delight.

In the first round, Cotto started with a left jab and another left. Mayorga answered with a jab of his own then held Cotto while he hit the back of his head. This got him a warning from the referee and the first of the the many jubilant reactions that energized the crowd. Mayorga threw a combination and Cotto unleashed two left hooks. Mayorga threw two rights to the head. They both caught throwing a punch at each other at the same time. Mayorga with another combination. Cotto counter-punched with a combination of his own. Mayorga with a left-right and Cotto threw a left-right salvo. Mayorga threw another combination. Cotto missed a left hook to end the round.

In the second round, after mixing at each other both unleashing three combinations of their own, Mayorga at the end of the round remained standing at the center of the ring staring at Cotto while the latter went to his corner. Mayorga's trainer had to sprinkled water at his face to signal him to sit at his own corner.

In the third round, Mayorga started with a right to the head and threw another right. Cotto with a combination. Mayorga missed with a right hook. Cotto missed, as well. Mayorga teased Cotto. Cotto with a Combination. Mayorga with a left hook and gesturing Cotto to come in that earned another reaction from the crowd. Cotto with a combination. Mayorga on the ropes who kept on teasing Cotto. Cotto with another combination. Mayorga missed twice. Cotto with a left-left to the head. Cotto ended the last 10 seconds with a left-right combination to the crowd's delight.

In the fourth round, Cotto started with a punch to the head. Mayorga with his antics as Cotto missed three times. Cotto aimed for the head but Mayorga's head movements got the better of him. Cotto chased Mayorga as Mayorga kept on teasing him. Cotto with a miss. Mayorga with a good combination to the head. Both exchanged punches. Mayorga almost slipped pointing to the floor as the crowd reacted. Mayorga with another combination. And another one in the last 10 seconds as Cotto had to cover his faced with his right hand. People stood in appreciation.

In the fifth round. people were chanting Cotto's name as Cotto discharged four combinations to Mayorga's one.

In the 6th round, Mayorga was teasing as Cotto was jabbing. Mayorga missed a right and left hook combination. Cotto with a left upper cut. Mayorga missed as he moved in. Mayorga connected. Cotto missed a jab but connected with a left to the body. Mayorga connected. Cotto with a left jab. Mayorga with a right to the head to end the round.

In the 7th round, Cotto connected with a right to the head as Mayorga ducked to open the round. There was a good exchanged of punches. Mayorga settled in, composed for a moment then threw a combination. Another exchange. Mayorga was more aggressive and connecting more. Mayorga teased Cotto then threw a combination. Mayorga chasing and hitting Cotto with a right to end the round. Good round for Mayorga.

In the 8th round, Mayorga got another warning for hitting Cotto at the back of his head. Mayorga talked back to the referee touching his chin. Cotto with a left hook. Then, connected with an upper cut. Both boxers exchanged punches. Cotto with a combination to the head followed with a jab. In the last 10 seconds as Mayorga missed and caught the rope instead and then, gesturing to Cotto with both arms down.

In the 9th round, Mayorga with a left hook and Cotto answered with a right hook. Mayorga with a combination then Cotto answered with his own. Mayorga with another combination and both boxers exchanged punches. Cotto threw 5 combinations while Mayorga threw 3 combinations in this round. Antonio Margarito, who defeated Cotto in their previous bout, was shown in the screen and the crowd booed him as he smiled.

In the 10th round, Cotto missed with a jab. Cotto with a combination as Mayorga counter-punched. Mayorga with a combination of his own. Cotto with two powerful jabs that the crowd reacted. Mayorga missed two and then missed another two. In the last 10 seconds, Mayorga chased Cotto and hit the rope as Cotto moved out of his way.

In the 11th round, Mayorga was standing with his arm entangled on the rope waiting for the bell. Cotto started with a combination but missed. Mayorga threw a combination, Cotto connected with his left jabs. Mayorga connected, as well. In the last 10 seconds, he chased Cotto with a combination.

In the 12th round, as Mayorga threw punches, Cotto counter-punched with a right then with a vicious left hook that sent Mayorga kneeling with his right and wrenching in pain favoring his left hand. It was later announced that he dislocated one of his fingers in the exchanges before the knockdown. Mayorga beat the count but Cotto chased him with a straight left to the face. Mayorga looked at the referee, Robert Byrd, imploring that he could not continue fighting.

Cotto was leading 107-102 in all three judges' (Chris Wilson, Jerry Roth and Duane Ford) score cards at the end of the 11th round having connected 249 punches out of total 508 punches thrown as compared to only 176 punches out of total 522 punches thrown by the former two-division former champion Ricardo Mayorga of Nicaragua.

Rod Mijares is also a sportswriter at Balita News Network in Las Vegas

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rod Mijares.

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