1. CAGUAS’ 28-year old Puerto Rican warrior, Miguel Cotto, 32-1-0, was coming off a brutal 11th round stoppage defeat at the (suspected to be loaded) hands of Antonio Margarito the previous July. A few weeks earlier, Margarito and his trainer Javier Capetillo had their licenses revoked for the maximum period of 12 months by the California State Athletic Commission after Margarito’s hand wraps were found to contain illegal knuckle pads during his defeat to Shane Mosley.
2. CHORLEY’S Michael Jennings, 31, 34-1-0, was the former English and British welterweight champion who had never even contested a Commonwealth or European strap and was competing in his first overseas fight for the vacant WBO welterweight title on February 21, 2009.
3. JENNINGS, although brave, was lucky to make it out of the fourth after falling twice under a barrage of punches from Cotto. The first knockdown came after two minutes when Cotto landed a stiff right to the Brit’s jaw followed by a pair of left hooks to the back of the neck and the jaw.
4. A COMBINATION of head shots and a crushing hook to the body finally put Jennings down for eight. Rising on unsteady legs, Cotto soon ushered the Brit into a neutral corner a similar combination to the head and a trademark hook to the body again sent Jennings scrambling.
5. JENNINGS kept Cotto at bay briefly in the fifth by throwing jabs but most missed the target and Miguel soon broke through and unleashed the combination to Jennings’ head which finished it.
6. THE BRIT conceded the gulf in class between the pair on the night: “I shouldn’t have allowed him to cut off the ring, but I can’t take anything away from him. He’s world class.” Cotto made his first defence of his new title against Joshua Clottey at the same venue before ending the year getting gunned down by a peak Manny Pacquiao.
7. OVER in Youngstown, Ohio, hometown hero Kelly Pavlik, 34-1-0, was returning from a failed bid to quash former middleweight ruler Bernard Hopkins in a non-title bout fought at a 170lbs catchweight back in October.
8. HIS CHALLENGER to his WBC and WBO middleweight titles was Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio, 43-4-1, a former WBC international light-middleweight champion. Rubio was beaten into every corner of the ring over nine rounds, Pavlik rocking the challenger badly at the end of the first round and in the eighth. The Mexican’s corner withdrew their man before the start of the 10th round.
9. “I’LL FIGHT ANYONE. Hopefully it’ll be this summer in this area,” said Pavlik on his next move. Indeed, he successfully defended his titles with another home stoppage win in December, this time in the fifth round against unheralded Miguel Angel Espino.
10. BUT Kelly would drop his titles to Sergio Martinez the following April, Martinez becoming the first Argentinian middleweight champion since the Carlos Monzon. Pavlik would win four comeback bouts but never regain his pre-Hopkins form, and he announced his retirement – amid rumours of alcoholism – in January 2013.