ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands watched Miguel Cotto beat Delvin Rodriguez Saturday night in the first boxing match to come to the Amway Center since it opened.
Cotto faced challenger Rodriguez in a 12-round super welterweight battle Saturday night. Cotto was declared the winner after a knockout in the third round of the fight.
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.
It was the first time the Amway Center hosted a championship boxing match.
Late Friday Amway Center officials announced that more tickets for the match were being released. The event drew thousands of spectators to the Amway Center.
"I think is going to be a great night of fighting, a great night of boxing," Rodriguez said.
"I am ready. Just waiting. Counting the hours to be here Saturday night," Cotto said.
The fight's main round features two men from the community and is expected to bring in a big crowd of Hispanics, one of the largest demographics in Orlando.
"I know that the Hispanics are ready. We really hit the sweet spot with them," Todd Duboef, president of Top Rank Promotions, said.
Alan Johnson, executive director for the Amway Center, said this is one of their larger marquee events.
"We can accommodate these events because of the way we built this building and that's why we put it in this location downtown," said Johnson.
While Cotto and Rodriguez are focused on the fight, they said they haven't lost sight of why they are fighting here.
"You have to thank the fans; they're a very big part of boxing. Without them I don't know where boxing would be," said Rodriguez.
The last time Orlando saw two top prize fighters go toe-to-toe was in 1989 when George Foreman fought Brazil's Manoel De Almeida in the Atlantis Theater at SeaWorld.