Miguel Cotto earned a devastating fourth round TKO over Australian Daniel Geale to successfully defend the WBC World middleweight belt on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Clashing at a catchweight of 157 pounds, the 5-foot-7 Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) dominated the 5-foot-10 Geale (31-4, 16 KOs) from the outset and twice floored the overmatched challenger.
Cotto expertly targeted Geale’s midsection and ended the mismatch with a short right hand.
Geale, a former titleholder who possesses a 71-inch reach and was 5-1 in championship scraps, indicated he was spent and referee Harvey Dock officially halted the beating at 1 minute, 28 seconds of the decisive frame.
“I’m so disappointed,” said Geale, 34, who ballooned from 157 pounds to 182 pounds from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. “It went too fast and I’m extremely disappointed. I think the weight had an effect for sure, but that’s boxing. I signed the contract. I have always struggled to make 160, so this was obviously much tougher.”
The 34-year-old Cotto, the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four weight classes, has looked reenergized and competed with a noticeable confidence since teaming with legendary trainer Freddie Roach in the spring of 2013.
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya offered a brief overview of the upcoming showdown pitting Cotto against Saul Alvarez.
“It’s the biggest fight to be made now,” said De La Hoya, 42, who promotes Alvarez and was named Yahoo Sports’ Boxing Man of the Year in 2014. “Cotto was very impressive. He took [Geale out]. The fight between Cotto and Canelo is huge. It’s the biggest fight in boxing after [Floyd] Mayweather-[Manny] Pacquiao. But the difference is that with Cotto-Canelo, you are guaranteed action.”
The 24-year-old Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs), who began boxing professionally at the ludicrous age of 15, rendered James Kirkland unconscious in the third round to win their explosive junior middleweight battle on May 9.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Alvarez badly bloodied the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Kirkland, earned three knockdowns, and finished the convicted felon at 2 minutes, 19 seconds of the decisive frame.
Alvarez will likely be favored over the 34-year-old Cotto because the surefire future Hall of Famer has engaged in countless bloodbaths.
Still, although Alvarez was equally impressive versus Kirkland, it’s hard to dismiss the rebirth Cotto has experienced with Roach in his corner.
In a tough match to currently predict a victor, fans will receive “guaranteed action” when Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez throw fists this autumn.