Photo Credit: Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions
LAS VEGAS — Last night, Jermell Charlo didn’t get his chance for revenge due to current champion Tony Harrison’s injury. However, Charlo did find an outlet for his frustration on the head of Jorge Cota, whom he battered and left motionless for a third-round knockout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Cota punching power (25 KOs in 28 wins) is surpassed by the futility of his defense. Charlo took full advantage by pressing his southpaw foe and countering inside with right hands. Charlo was getting full leverage on these shots and it would be a short overhand right that put Cota down at the 2:30 mark of the third.
The fight could’ve been stopped there as Cota stumbled to his feet and used the ropes for balance. But the doomed slugger was able to answer the ref affirmatively that he was ready to continue and absorbed a savage straight right for his trouble.
Cota crashed backward on the canvas with his still form signaling a second count was unnecessary.
“I’d like to thank you, Cota. He stepped in the ring. The guy who proclaims he has a title didn’t show up,” said Charlo, alluding to his nemesis Harrison. “I got the knock out right in front of my family. He was just getting started and I landed the clean shot.
“I’m trying to be great. I plan on getting the rematch and then getting all of the belts by the end of the year. Tony Harrison is in the building. He’s lucky he didn’t accept this fight with me. I’m a much better fighter.”
Charlo was indeed more aggressive, but there’s not much to use from this fight to determine how the Harrison rematch plays out. Cota was there to be hit and Harrison own counter-punching prowess is what kept Charlo from getting any offensive consistency. In Harrison’s two losses to Jarrett Hurd and Willie Nelson, both men were willing to take chances and some punishment with the assumption Harrison couldn’t take their firepower (they were right). Will Charlo be willing to do the same?
OLD RIGONDEAUX NOW EQUALS EXCITEMENT?!: Rigondeaux’s cult fanbase, not to mention his lofty P4P ranking, have all but evaporated in the twp years since his one-sided loss to Vasyl Lomachenko. But now at 38 (allegedly), the older Cuban master may have now slipped enough to start providing entertaining firefights.
Last night, Rigondeaux surprisingly fought a flat-footed, toe to toe battle of attrition against Julio Ceja. Both were deducted points for low blows but Ceja’s work-rate had him leading on all scorecards (68-68 twice, 67-66) headed into the eighth. Still, the talent gap was apparent and Rigondeaux’s sublime counter-punching skills paid dividends when he erased Ceja’s senses with a beautiful left hook.
Now, it’s possible this fight was an anomaly and Rigondeaux only fought this way due to the opposition level (Ceja hadn’t fought since being stopped in four by Franklin Manzanilla in May 2018). But if this version of Rigo is here to the stay, we ironically now have the fan-friendly TV fighter well after his best years.