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Sosa calls Cotto 'a very hard puncher'

2/29/2004

LAS VEGAS -- Victoriano Sosa was supposed to be Miguel
Cotto's toughest test yet. Cotto passed it easily Saturday night,
knocking the veteran fighter down three times in the fourth round
to remain unbeaten in 19 fights.

Cotto was simply too strong for the Dominican, landing some big left
hooks and bloodying his lip before finally putting him down with a left hook midway
through the fourth round of the junior welterweight fight.

Sosa got up at the count of seven, but it wasn't long before he
was dropped by a left-right-left combination. He got up again, but
was shaky as the action resumed and Cotto landed a flurry to put
him down for a final time at 2:51 of the round.

The 2000 Olympian from Puerto Rico scored his 16th knockout in
19 fights in what may have been his most impressive performance
yet.

He's a really good fighter," Sosa said. "He's got a real
good chance of being a world champion."

The fight was on the undercard of the Erik Morales-Jesus Chavez
130-pound title fight at the MGM Grand hotel-casino.

Cotto said he was ready to fight anyone after easily beating
what he called his toughest opponent yet.

"I'll fight anyone my promoter and manager tells me to fight,"
Cotto said.

Sosa (36-4-2) had fought twice for the lightweight title,
dropping a 12-round decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last April. He
said Cotto hit harder than Mayweather.

"He's a very hard puncher," Sosa said. "Early in the fight I
got him with some good shots but he's got a real good chin, too."

Sosa, cousin of Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy, was cut on the bottom of his lip in the second round and
had swelling under his left eye. Cotto made sure none of that
mattered, though, finishing him off with a series of thundering
punches in the final round of the scheduled 12-round fight.

Very few fans saw it because it was an off-TV fight as well as the walk-out bout
after Chavez-Morales, but a tremendous upset was scored when Grady Brewer
knocked out highly touted junior middleweight prospect Anthony Thompson in
the third round of an eight rounder with a right uppercut followed by a
right hand-uppercut combination.

Thompson, who falls to 15-1 (12), made the same mistake that Sosa did with
Cotto. He slugged when he should have boxed, acting too zealous in taking
the fight to Brewer, a limited but sturdy opponent who improved to 16-8
(10).

Also on the undercard, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the tall, rangy son of the Mexican
legend, improved to 5-0 (1) with a unanimous decision over Ireland's
30-year-old Oisin Fagan in a four-round lightweight bout. Chavez, who is
listed at 18 years of age, rumored to be 16 and looks about 12, scored a
knockdown in the second round en route to scores of 39-37 and 39-36 (twice).
Fagan fell to 4-2 (3).

Like his father, who sat ringside, Chavez Jr.
doesn't do any one thing with super-natural talent -- he wasn't lightening
fast, he didn't show one-punch KO power, and he wasn't a defensive
specialist -- but he did everything well in the ring Saturday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.