After waiting more than three years since their initial clash, Miguel Cotto turned the tables on nemesis Antonio Margarito, stopping the Mexican in the ninth round last night at New York's famed Madison Square Garden.
After losing the WBA welter crown to Margarito in 2008, Cotto won and lost the WBO welter strap before capturing the WBA light middle belt in 2010 while Margarito was kicked out of the sport for a year after attempting to employ illegal handwraps for a WBA welter title clash against Shane Mosley.
Once the bout started last night, Cotto was once again outboxing his adversary, just as he was doing during the first half of the first fight.
But this time, Margarito was unable to break down his Puerto Rican rival as he had done previously, lending credence to the theory that Margarito had allegedly employed illegal handwraps in the first showdown.
Margarito relentlessly came forward but was repeatedly picked off by the much faster, much more skilled Cotto and when the challenger did land his punches, they didn't have much effect on Cotto.
By the sixth frame, Margarito's right eye was cut badly and swollen shut but Tijuana resident continued to come forward, mocking Cotto yet eating punches that worsened the injury.
More one-sided rounds followed and after the ninth frame, ringside physicians advised referee Steve Smoger to halt the contest before the start of the tenth.
Cotto sees his record to 37-2 (30) while Margarito has now lost three of last four and now stands at 38-8 (27).
The undercard saw Brandon Rios and John Murray tangle for the WBA lightweight title, which reigning champ Rios lost on the scales the day before.
Ex-European and British champ Murray of England was effective in the first half of the fight, swapping punches well with Rios, of California, and generally doing better than expected.
But when Rios nailed Murray with a flush shot that appeared to break the Manchester man's nose in the sixth, the American took over the driver's seat.
Things got worse for Murray when he lost a point for low blows in the seventh and a rally in the ninth failed to wrest control from Rios.
The eleventh saw Rios dishing out much punishment, causing a stoppage at 2:06 of the round.
Rios goes to 29-0-1 (22) but the WBA title remains vacant. Murray loses his second contest on the bounce, dropping to 31-2 (18).
American welterweight Mike Jones, 26-0 (19), continued his climb to a world title shot with a 12 round UD over Argentine veteran Sebastian Lujan, 38-5-2 (24), for the NABO and NABA belts.
In a light middleweight rematch, Delvin Rodriguez, 26-5-3 (14), outpointed Pawel Wolak, 29-2-1 (19), for the IBA Intercontinental bauble.