Jorge Linares (45-4, 28 KOs) proved he’s no light weight puncher, stopping Abner Cotto (23-4, 12 KOs) in three rounds to mark a successful debut in the Junior Welterweight division.
Linares was in control from the beginning, commanding the center of the ring. His jab looked crisp, paying special attention to Cotto’s body, and left-hook counters secured the opening round for him.
With a proud name to represent, Cotto pushed the pace in Round 2. The Puerto Rican veteran punched with regularity, but not nearly in the creative fashion his opponent was. Linares eventually chopped him down. Capitalizing the round with a beautiful sequence, the Venezuelan stylist stepped in with a long jab to the body and finished the combination with a wicked right cross that floored Cotto.
Round 3 saw Linares continue to sit on his punches, looking for the early finish. A minute into the period, he scored the second knockdown of the fight with another right hand.
Cotto made it back to his feet but another exchange left him staring at referee Raul Caiz Sr. for what he swore was a low blow. The Venezuelan boxer-puncher jumped on him and looped a blow to Cotto’s face.
Cotto crumbled to the canvas but not before wrapping up Linares, dragging him to the ground. Linares sprung off the canvas whereas the officials and the Puerto Rican’s corner could tell Cotto had nothing left and the fight was waved off.
Naturally, the fight night punch stats favored the winner. Linares landed 58 of 132 total punches (44 percent) and 35 of 61 power shots (57 percent) while Cotto connected on 20 of 103 total punches (20 percent) and 10 of 48 power punches (21 percent).
Now with the smooth attack and scary pop that earned Linares world titles in three weight classes, the 140-pound ranks are securely in his cross-hairs.
Header photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions