Boxing: Jeffrey Fontanez

Brinson upsets Melendez on Cotto card

June, 8, 2013
No one in their right mind thinks the life of a fighter is an easy one. But if Miguel Cotto didn't know it before, he now knows the life of the promoter isn't a parade of pleasure either.

On Friday night at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., Cotto fighter Jorge Melendez was upset in the main event by Nick Brinson.

Brinson, from Rochester, N.Y., took the middleweight bout on a scant one-week notice. He apparently had been staying physically and mentally ready; Brinson's fate was never in doubt, as he won by scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 96-92.

The fourth round was a true thriller. Brinson (15-1-2; winner of six in a row) sent Melendez (26-3-1) down with a right-left hook combo, and then a bit later Melendez returned the favor, sending the victor down with his own left hook. The fight arguably could have been stopped right there, but the ref stepped in and gave a bleary Brinson a mandatory eight-count, as he was getting blasted on the ropes after a tight hook clipped his chin. He had to stay alive for about 13 seconds to make the end of the round, and the fact that he did was a minor miracle, as his legs were shaky and his brain was clearly still buzzed.

Brinson complained of rabbit punches, especially in round 9, and the crew of Showtime's "ShoBox" thought a disqualification should have been considered. They beefed after the bell, and Melendez tried to head-butt the victor as they squawked at each other.

The stats story showed that Brinson landed 100 more punches than Melendez, who is nicknamed "Destroyer."

Cotto's night could have been worse; his prospect Jeffrey Fontanez (12-1) could have been on the short end of the decision against Jose Rodriguez (19-11) in a lightweight scrap. Rodriguez sent Fontanez down with a right hand to end round 7. Many had it closer than the two judges who saw it 77-74 and 78-73, while one judge had Rodriguez ahead, 76-75.
It's anyone's best guess how much Miguel Cotto has left in the tank. Is he nearing E? On E? Or operating on fumes, and set to sputter out?

Cotto, age 32, lost his last outing, against Austin Trout last December (UD12) and his outing before that, against Floyd Mayweather (UD12) in May 2012. No shame in that, frankly; Mayweather you know as the top performer of his era and Trout is in pound-for-pound Top 20 territory. But really, the next one could be the last one for the 37-4 Cotto, a future Hall of Famer who turns 33 in October.

Showing some of the clear-mindedness that served him so well in the ring, the hitter has set the table for himself for the next phase of his life. He has ample holdings in businesses and real estate in Puerto Rico, and has for the last couple years been putting together a promotional company, Miguel Cotto Promotions, which seeks to collect the next generation of Puerto Rican pugilistic standouts.

One of Cotto's charges, junior middleweight Jorge Melendez, looks to take another step up the ladder to prominence when he headlines at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y., on June 7. Showtime will televise his scrap, against Lanardo Tyner (30-8-2 with 19 KOs; turns 38 in August; winner of five straight after a four fight losing streak).

I checked in with Cotto, asking about Melendez, the card, how he is digging being a promoter, and also his fighting future.

So, is Melendez the stud in the Cotto stable, I asked.

"He's one of the best," Cotto told me. "We know he's tough, and we trust that he'll show everybody strong he is on June 7. He is a hard puncher, but also smart."

Melendez does have a showy KO percentage, boasting a 26-2-1 record, with 25 KOs. He has lost to a pair of skilled journeymen, Clarence Taylor and Doel Carrasquillo, but has reeled off 13 straight KOs since his latest loss, to Carrasquillo, two years ago.

Cotto said he's liking the promotional side. The hitter spent most of his career under the Top Rank umbrella, so he was able to soak up tips from the best in the business, Bob Arum. Cotto Promotions aims to run between ten and 14 shows a year, in various locales, he said. "This is our first opportunity in New York, so it will be our best effort to show our best," he said.

He noted that Cotto prospects Jeffrey Fontanez (11-0 super feather; age 20) and Jonathan Vidal (17-0 bantamweight) are also on the Turning Point card and are promising boxers.

Check back for more from Cotto, as NYFightblog looks to find out when he will next fight, and against whom.