NEW YORK – Miguel Cotto forced Shane Mosley to fight his style of fight and retained his WBA welterweight championship with a unanimous decision in a fierce inside battle at Madison Square Garden.
Much of the fight was contested at close range, with the men taking turns battering each other with hooks to the head and body and powerful right hands.
Ultimately, it may have been the jab that Cotto spent months working on in the gym that proved to be the difference.
Judges Glenn Feldman and Peter Trematera each saw it 115-113 for Cotto, now 31-0. Judge Winn Kintz had it 116-113 for the Puerto Rican. Yahoo! Sports scored it 115-113 for Cotto.
Mosley, who said he hurt his right hand early in the bout, shook his head at the announcement of the decision.
"I think I won the fight," said Mosley, who fell to 44-5. "I dictated the action."
The battle was so close that they wound up landing the exact number of punches. Cotto connected on 248 of 675 shots, according to CompuBox, while Mosley landed 248 of the 774 he threw.
The difference was that Cotto outjabbed Mosley, 98-71. Cotto was 98 of 288 with the jab, a technique he worked tirelessly on in the gym in a bid to negate Mosley's blazing hand speed. Mosley landed 71 of 439 jabs.
"Mosley hit me with some real hard punches," Cotto said. "However, I trained in camp with speed and movement to face this kind of power. I did all that in Puerto Rico before I got here. I thought I was ahead the entire fight. I thought I had a big lead."
Cotto spent the first eight or nine rounds on the attack, but Mosley, at 36 and nine years older than the champion, stood his ground. By the 10th, it was Mosley on the attack and Cotto who was moving away.
Mosley landed some hard shots in the 10th and appeared to stun Cotto several times, but Cotto, who had in the past gone down against lesser punchers, took everything well and never seemed in danger.
"It was a great fight," Mosley said. "Miguel was very strong. Not only was he powerful with pressure, but he can box. He really mixed it up and did a great job out there tonight. He's a young lion on his way to greatness."
Cotto said he would fight whoever Top Rank, his promoter, asked him to face. He mentioned Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton as potential opponents.
- See also: Mosley-Cotto round-by-round blog.