Brinson upsets Melendez on Cotto card

No one in their right mind thinks the life of a fighter is an easy one. But if Miguel Cotto didn't know it before, he now knows the life of the promoter isn't a parade of pleasure either.

On Friday night at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., Cotto fighter Jorge Melendez was upset in the main event by Nick Brinson.

Brinson, from Rochester, N.Y., took the middleweight bout on a scant one-week notice. He apparently had been staying physically and mentally ready; Brinson's fate was never in doubt, as he won by scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 96-92.

The fourth round was a true thriller. Brinson (15-1-2; winner of six in a row) sent Melendez (26-3-1) down with a right-left hook combo, and then a bit later Melendez returned the favor, sending the victor down with his own left hook. The fight arguably could have been stopped right there, but the ref stepped in and gave a bleary Brinson a mandatory eight-count, as he was getting blasted on the ropes after a tight hook clipped his chin. He had to stay alive for about 13 seconds to make the end of the round, and the fact that he did was a minor miracle, as his legs were shaky and his brain was clearly still buzzed.

Brinson complained of rabbit punches, especially in round 9, and the crew of Showtime's "ShoBox" thought a disqualification should have been considered. They beefed after the bell, and Melendez tried to head-butt the victor as they squawked at each other.

The stats story showed that Brinson landed 100 more punches than Melendez, who is nicknamed "Destroyer."

Cotto's night could have been worse; his prospect Jeffrey Fontanez (12-1) could have been on the short end of the decision against Jose Rodriguez (19-11) in a lightweight scrap. Rodriguez sent Fontanez down with a right hand to end round 7. Many had it closer than the two judges who saw it 77-74 and 78-73, while one judge had Rodriguez ahead, 76-75.