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Cotto stops Martinez for middleweight belt

NEW YORK (AP) - Miguel Cotto became the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world championships in four weight divisions, stopping Sergio Martinez in their WBC world middleweight title fight Saturday night.

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Martinez didn't get off the stool when the bell rang for the 10th round.

Cotto improved to 39-4 and is 8-1 at Madison Square Garden. Martinez fell to 51-3-2.

In the week leading up to the fight, Cotto's trainer, Freddie Roach, said his pupil would be able to use his footwork to control the fight, and still possessed power even though he moved up in weight class.

Cotto proved Roach right from the opening bell, knocking down Martinez twice in the first round with a flurry of body shots. As the fight progressed, Cotto pressured Martinez around the ring, and attacked when openings were presented.

Martinez forced Cotto to fight in the middle of the ring instead of on the ropes or in the corners. But Cotto was able to land a variety of jabs and hooks. By the end of the eighth round, Martinez had swelling around his right eye.

The Cotto-Martinez fight was the main event of a nine-fight card.

Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1) became the NABF featherweight champion with a 10-round split decision win over Wilfredo Vasquez Jr (23-4-1).

''He's a dirty, rotten fighter,'' Vasquez said. ''When I pressured him, he held. He landed one good punch, the punch that knocked me down.''

Javier Maciel (29-3) won the USNBC super welterweight title, defeating Jorge Melendez (28-4-1) by split decision, and Andy Lee (32-2) stopped John Jackson (18-2) with a left hook in the fifth round.

''I ran into a bad one,'' Jackson said. ''What a lucky punch.''

Prior to the main card bouts, Felix Verdejo improved to 13-0 with a first-round technical knockout of Engelberto Valenzuela (9-2); and Jose Lopez (13-0) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Raul Hidalgo (21-11-0-1) to retain the WBC super bantam FECARBOX title.

Jose Pedraza moved to 17-0 with a first-round technical knockout of Arturo Uruzquieta (15-6); and Willie Nelson improved to 22-1-1 with a first-round technical knockout of Darryl Cunningham (29-7). In his first professional bout, Jantory Ortiz stopped Elio Ruiz (1-5) in the first round.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
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