It’s 4th of July and while today’s Sunday Punch doesn’t have any patriotic tinge to it, it does have fireworks in the ring and that should be good enough!
On September 24th, 2005, WBO junior welterweight champion and Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto took on Colombia’s Ricardo Torres at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Cotto was supposed to face Italy’s Gianluca Branco as part of an HBO doubleheader headlined by Wladimir Klitschko against Samuel Peter. Branco withdrew and Torres stepped up on three weeks’ notice. Because of his heavily padded record against underwhelming (at best) local opposition in Colombia, the expectation was Cotto would get the W without much trouble.
Well Cotto got the W but he was in a ton of trouble, more than anything he’d ever seen in his career up to that point. He knocked Torres down in the opening frame but was rocked later in the round. Torres again had Cotto in trouble in round two and knocked him down. A shock result appeared to be in the works.
Cotto answered back with a body shot knockdown in round four, but was so badly shaken in the fifth round that HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman gave Torres a 10-8 without a knockdown. A heavy right hand upstairs put Torres down in the sixth, then a body shot in the seventh ended things for good. Five total knockdowns and a whole lot of violence.
You can watch the video at the top of the page.
Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) did fight Gianluca Bronco as originally planned in his next fight and bludgeoned him until he got the 8th round TKO. He’s obviously won numerous titles and he went from co-headlining Klitschko shows into being a pay-per-view star, insanely popular among the Puerto Rican community, and he will eventually end up in the International Boxing Hall of Fame when he’s eligible. Torres (33-2, 29 KOs) would go on to become the WBO world champion at 140 lbs, defending the belt successfully twice before getting knocked out in 61 seconds in his rematch with Kendall Holt. That proved to be the end of his relevance, as he fought (and won) once more in Colombia before calling it a career in 2009. Who knows what would’ve happened if Torres had actually pulled off the unthinkable? What fans were treated to that night was an epic slugfest.