Miguel Cotto stopped Delvin Rodriguez in the third round Saturday night in a junior middleweight bout at Amway Center.
Cotto improved to 38-4 with his 31st knockout, working quickly in his first fight since losing being unanimously outpointed by Austin Trout in December. Rodriguez dropped to 28-7-3.
"It feels good to win and be able to do it in front of a wonderful crowd," Cotto said. "I thought I hit him with some good shots early and I was able to get the stop."
Cotto attacked Rodriguez from the sound of the bell, going after him with left hooks to the body. Near the end of the second round, Cotto landed a strong combination, finishing with a left hook to the head that staggered Rodriguez. The Puerto Rican star finished off his opponent with a flurry of head shots that put Rodriguez to the canvas, with referee Frank Santore Jr. stopping it 18 seconds into the third round.
Rodriguez said the stoppage came too early, but complimented Cotto on his performance.
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"The referee really never gave me a chance to get up and show that I could fight back," Rodriguez said. "But Miguel showed me his power in the second round and I'm just going to have to regroup."
It was Cotto's first fight with new trainer Freddie Roach and the boxer said that he feels like a new man. He landed 55 of 110 of punches and 47 power punches, with over half of those landing to the body.
"All of the work that we put in over the last month really showed tonight," Cotto said. "I'm very happy to have Freddie in my corner. We were able to get back to basics.
Cotto ended a two-fight losing streak to possibly set up a bout with Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican fighter who lost a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather last month. However, Cotto said there are some obstacles to making such a match and made reference to the feud between boxing promotions Top Rank and Golden Boy.
"I am not closing any doors on a fight with Alvarez but there will have to be some discussions with Top Rank," Cotto said.
Roach also said Cotto spoke of a possible rematch with Mayweather, who defeated Cotto by a unanimous decision in May 2012.
"Miguel told me that if he were in the shape that he's in right now he would have won that fight," Roach said. "So I'm sure he would definitely welcome a rematch."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.