Cotto earns shot at IBF crown

ATLANTIC CITY N.J. Miguel Cotto battered Alfonso Gomez for five rounds Saturday night to retain his WBA welterweight title and set up a fight with new IBF champion Antonio Margarito.

Margarito dominated Kermit Cintron for the second time, then knocked him out in the sixth round to win the IBF crown.

Cotto had no trouble with the outmanned Gomez and ran his record to 32-0 with 26 knockouts when Dr. Mark Schaber stopped the fight after a lopsided fifth round. In that round, Gomez went down for the third time. Gomez's face was swollen almost from the first time the Puerto Rican star hit him in the mismatch.

It was a one-sided night in perhaps the strongest division in boxing, which also boasts WBC champion Floyd Mayweather.

Cintron put up almost no resistance against Margarito, now 36-5 with 25 knockouts.

"I want to be prepared for anyone, especially Margarito," Cotto added.

Promoter Bob Arum has targeted July 26 for that bout.

Margarito handed Cintron the only previous loss of his career three years ago in the fifth round in a WBO championship bout. This time, the Mexican pummeled the champion from the opening bell, then ended the lopsided fight with a devastating left to the body at 1:57 of the sixth.


- In Tampa, Fla., Antonio Tarver climbed into the ring with one light heavyweight title Saturday night. He departed with two championship belts.

Tarver handily defeated Clinton Woods with a unanimous 12-round decision to retain his lightly regarded IBO crown and seize the IBF title from his British foe.

Judge Howard Foster scored the bout 119-109 for Tarver (27-4, 19 KOs). John Rupert had it 117-111, and Steve Marshall called it 116-112.



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