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We’ve had a little time to digest last night’s avenging victory by Miguel Cotto over bitter rival Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden. Cotto (38-2, 30 KO) turned back the clock quite a bit, boxing brilliantly, showing quickness and smarts while picking apart the lumbering Margarito (38-8, 27 KO). It was a whitewash, and while punch stats don’t always tell the story in boxing, the numbers were clearly in Cotto’s favor.
Margarito was only able to land at a 22% overall clip, connecting on 157 of his 700 punches. Cotto was efficient and surgical, landing 210 out of 493 total punches (43%), and hitting on a staggering 51% of his power shots. Many of those power shots were Cotto’s signature left hook, a punch he normally throws to the body but on Saturday used it to bust up Margarito’s bad right eye, the damage to which ended up stopping the bout just as the 10th round started.
Cotto simply outclassed his opponent and proved that if he wants to continue his career with big fights, he has a lot left in the tank. The only thing Margarito proved is that no one is crazy for thinking he cheated with loaded hand wraps in his first fight with Cotto, and perhaps long before that as well. You could say that he again proved his toughness, which is the only singular thing admirable about him; he refused to relent, kept coming forward, and wanted to continue despite not being able to see out of his right eye for the second time in three fights.
I’d like to think Margarito will call it a career, but he likely will continue on (he clearly doesn’t care what the public thinks of him). On the other hand, Cotto has the opportunity to further validate his — not that he needs to. Here’s a look at what the next move for both fighters could be.
When you’re unlikable, people want to see you get beat up. Margarito has that going for him, and despite the hand wrap controversy and his recent in-ring performance (he’s 1-3 in his last four fights), Margarito generates attention. Top Rank could look to make a super fight in Mexico by matching Margarito with either Canelo Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Both fighters are very similar: unbeaten Mexican brawlers with huge followings but a questionable track record. A win over Margarito would be the biggest name victory for either guy, and both would be favored to beat Margarito. Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KO), and Chavez (44-0-1, 31 KO) are both prized possessions of Top Rank, and a fight with Margarito guarantees a boatload of money if it was in Mexico or Southern California.
There were rumors before Saturday’s fight that it would be the last with Top Rank for Cotto, and that he’d move on to face Floyd Mayweather Jr, on May 5. Cotto said after the fight, however, that he would always be promoted by Top Rank, so that ends that (Arum hates Mayweather, if you haven’t noticed, which is a big reason him and Pacquiao have yet to fight). Cotto said he’ll take a few weeks off before thinking about his next move, but when he starts to, Alvarez will be staring him in the face. I think it’s an incredibly logical fight (which is a lot to say in boxing these days). The fight could be put in plenty of places; New York, Atlantic City, Los Angeles or Texas all make sense and the fight would do well in any of those places. It would be the biggest test of Alvarez’s young career, but wouldn’t be a walk in the park for Cotto either. I think it would be a lot closer of a fight than people expected (many would favor Cotto due to Alvarez’s rawness), and it could be a great action bout. The only thing getting in the way would be Top Rank not wanting to get a loss on Alvarez’s resume before he fought Chavez Jr, which is basically the Pacquiao-Mayweather of Mexico at this point.
The name Sergio Martinez will come up. But Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO), the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to most everyone, is simply too big for Cotto. Cotto is tiny for a junior middleweight, and Martinez has settled in as the world’s best middleweight. Martinez’s promoter Lou DiBella is clamoring for a fight with a big name like Cotto, but it just doesn’t make any sense for Cotto. Martinez would probably only move that far down for a huge payday with either Pacquiao or Mayweather. Cotto can make big money fighting plenty of other guys his size, and there’s plenty of picks for him in the 154-pound division.
James Kirkland is an exciting option. Kirkland (30-1, 27 KO) is one of boxing’s most intriguing stories, having come back from a prison stint to return to the ring. After a shocking loss to Nobuhiro Ishida, Kirkland last defeated Alfredo Angulo in November in a fight that brought us perhaps the round of the year, where in the first round Kirkland got off the canvas to knock down Angulo himself after holding on for dear life. Kirkland ended up smashing Angulo and forcing a stoppage, claiming his stake as an action fighter and a force in the 154-pound division. Kirkland is a lot like Margarito in that he comes forward at all costs, but he’s younger and packs more power at this point. I’d favor Cotto, but it would be exciting, as any Kirkland fight is.
Chavez Jr. is an option, however he’s a little bigger than Cotto as he’s settled into the 160-pound division. It would be a big money fight and both are Top Rank guys, so it’s a possibility. Could Cotto move back down to welterweight? It’s possible, and maybe could get Andre Berto if Berto beats Victor Ortiz in their upcoming rematch. Maybe Cotto has earned a second shot at Pacquiao, who is the only man to defeat Cotto without any supposed help. Pacquiao’s skills have seemingly diminished a bit, and Cotto proved on Saturday that he’s a smart fighter who can make adjustments. It might be a lot closer this time around.
Either way, Cotto’s victory on Saturday over Margarito both gave him the revenge he so desperately sought, and also kept him alive for a number of big time fights in the near future. That’s a good thing for boxing fans.
Miguel Cotto wanted his revenge over Antonio Margarito, and in the wee hours of Sunday morning at Madison Square Garden, he got it.
Cotto dominated his adversary, peppering him with powerful combinations and targeting the surgically-repaired right eye of Margarito. Right as the bell rang for the 10th round, doctors from the New York State Athletic Commission advised referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight, and he did. Cotto earned the 37th win of his career against just two losses, and of course avenged the controversial loss to Margarito back in 2008. Margarito fell to 38-8.
The question coming into the fight was whether or not Margarito's punches would have as much power this time around as they did in 2008, when many believed Margarito's gloves were loaded. It didn't seem so, since the fight went almost identically to their first fight. Cotto bagged the early rounds, using his speed and movement and effectively keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Their first fight turned in Margarito's favor in the middle rounds, and tonight, Margarito did have some moments in rounds five, six and seven. He kept pressuring, coming forward and, at times, backing Cotto up to the ropes. Margarito was able to land some of his signature powerful short uppercuts, but Cotto was able to deal with them.
In the third round, Cotto cut the right eye of Margarito, and for the rest of the fight it was an issue for the Mexican. Cotto targeted it and found success, firing off flush left hooks. By the Cotto-dominated the ninth round, the eye was just about fully shut. When Maragrito went to answer the bell for the 10th round, the doctors had made their decision. Margarito and his camp were visibly upset, pleading that the fighter could continue. It wasn't to be.
There was no love lost between the two and that continued after the fight. In his post-fight interview with HBO's Max Kellerman, Cotto was asked if Margarito's punches felt the same this time as they did back in the original fight. Cotto answered by saying he was still awake and that he was on his feet. Margarito still derided Cotto's punches as girly.
The war of words may have continued and may keep going into the future, but there's no debating that Cotto got his revenge.
We'll have more on the fight's fallout in the coming days, including what's next for both men (hint: Margarito should call it quits).
Brandon Rios overcame a draining process of making the 135-pound weight limit to win a brutal fight against John Murray on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch at Madison Square Garden. A flurry by Rios in the 11th round forced referee Earl Brown to step in and stop the carnage. With the win, Rios stayed unbeaten at 29-0-1, 22 KO, while Murray dropped to 31-2, 18 KO.
In yesterday’s weigh-in, Rios failed to make the 135-pound weight limit, despite draining himself to very unhealthy amounts. It threw an interesting caveat into the fight, since Rios was such a big favorite coming in. And Murray did have moments, especially in rounds three through five. Rios looked as though the rigor of trying to cut weight would catch up with him and he may not make it all the way to the end. But Rios was able to recover and kept catching Murray with thunderous uppercuts, which Murray seemed to have no defense for.
Next up, of course, is the main event. It’s been a wild ride all the way up to the fight, even on the night of the fight. Cotto’s camp brought in Naazim Richardson, the trainer of Shane Mosley, to watch Margarito get his hands wrapped (Richardson of course is the one who caught Margarito with the illegal handwraps prior to the fight with Mosley). But Richardson was not allowed by the New York State Athletic Commission to go into Margarito’s dressing room, because he is not licensed to do so in the state.
It remains to be seen what Richardson’s role with Cotto’s team will be going forward, if there is any role for him at all other than playing mind games.
Delvin Rodriguez and Pawl Wolak didn’t quite put on the same show that they did in thier July fight of the year candidate, but it was an exciting fight nonetheless. Rodriguez thought he won their first fight, and out to prove that point tonight, took it to Wolak in the rematch an won a unanimous decision. Rodriguez took the fight on scores of 98-91, 98-92, 100-90. SB Nation NY had it 97-93 Rodriguez.
Wolak pressured in the the opening rounds, but Rodriguez adjusted to Wolak’s forward-coming style and found success with counter uppercuts, which he landed throughout the fight. Overall, Rodriguez landed an impressive 35% of his punches, with many of them being power shots. Wolak had some success when he was able to get inside the taller Rodriguez’s reach, but wasn’t able to do enough damage when he got there. Wolak clearly tired in the later rounds, and was gassed by the end of the fight.
Wolak did impress by staying on his feet throughout the final bell, especially in the tenth round which Rodriguez went for the kill. Still, it was an impressive showing for Rodriguez, who improved to 26-5-3, 14 KO. Wolak fell to 29-2-1, 19 KO.
The final undercard fight pits the undefeated Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) against England’s John Murray (31-1, 18 KO) in the 130-pound division.
To kick off the televised pay-per-view undercard of tonight’s Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch, Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones defeated Argentinean Sebastian Lujan by unanimous decision in an easy fight to score. Two judges had it for 119-109 for Jones, while one had it 118-110. SB Nation New York had it 119-109 for Jones.
The much taller man, Jones was able to control the fight by keeping distance and hitting on combinations. Despite connecting quite a bit, Jones couldn’t put down Lujan, who showed some toughness but not much else. Jones is an exciting prospect to keep an eye on, but it’s about time he takes a step up in competition, as he improved to 26-0, 19 KO. Lujan fell to 38-6-2, 24 KO.
Next up on the undercard is the rematch in the junior middleweight division between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez. These two battled in what was a fight of the year candidate in July, which ended in a draw.
Miguel Cotto is looking for revenge. In July of 2008, Cotto was handed his first professional loss by Antonio Margarito. We all know now that there’s a good chance Margarito cheated in that fight, as in his next fight he was caught trying to load his hand wraps with a plaster-like substance. Getting beaten for your first professional loss is bad enough, but to find out you may have been hoodwinked? Since the Margarito hand wrap controversy surfaced, many fight fans have felt cheated. But nobody more so than Cotto, who has waited a long time to get his due revenge on Margarito. Finally, on Saturday night he has that chance, as the two warriors will hook up at Madison Square Garden for one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) will be to fight smart. And many observers believe that if Cotto does that, he’ll win. Neither fighter is what they used to be, as both have been through countless tough battles. But if recent history tells us anything, its that Cotto is still a lot closer to being an elite fighter than Margarito. Margarito’s (38-7, 27 KO) last notable victory came in the controversial win over Cotto in 2008, and the validity of it has been questioned. Since then, Margarito has been beaten badly by Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao, and won a single tune-up for the Pacquiao fight.
Cotto, while not defeating world-beaters, has stayed relevant. He jumped up to the 154-pound limit to win a title over the previously unbeaten but light-punching Yuri Foreman — the title Cotto will defend on Saturday. He defended it once over the brute Ricardo Mayorga, scoring a final round knockout. Outside of his questioned loss to Margarito, Cotto’s only defeat came to Pacquiao, at the height of his game, in Nov. of 2009.
But Margarito surely will be looking to prove that his win against Cotto should stand. Nobody will believe that he didn’t cheat in their first fight, but if he can defeat Cotto in the rematch, he can erase some doubts as to at least who’s better between the two. On top of that, whoever loses Saturday’s fight will be in a tough spot going forward with their career, if they so choose to. The winner gets a chance to move on to a crop of talented fighters at the super welterweight limit, perhaps Canelo Alvarez or James Kirkland.
In their first fight, Cotto dominated the early going. He bagged the first few rounds but couldn’t finish Margarito, who has proved that he’ll keep coming forward at all costs. Margarito started to turn the fight in his favor and took the middle and late rounds before stopping Cotto in the 11th. I think Saturday’s fight will start very similarly to their first fight, but I don’t expect Margarito to be able to make a comeback. He simply isn’t the fighter he used to be, and his digression is much wider than Cotto’s. Cotto is the superior boxer, and as Margarito’s gotten older, he’s gotten slower. Never a blinder to begin with, at this point he’s shockingly slow. As long as Cotto can stay off the ropes, utilize lateral movement and pop off combinations, he should take the day. Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye will be both a target for Cotto and a point of attention for referee Steve Smoger. I expect Cotto to pepper that eye, break down Margarito, and force a stoppage. Miguel Cotto by 10th round TKO
Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito meet again tonight, as they're the main event of a four-fight card tonight on HBO Pay Per View. Below is more information on the fight and undercards via our Boxing blog, Bad Left Hook:
Fight time: 9 p.m. EST
Location: Madison Square Garden
TV channel: HBO PPV ($54.99-64.99, United States), BoxNation (U.K.), TV Azteca (Mexico), Main Event PPV ($29.95-49.95, Australia)
Streaming PPV: Top Rank will be offering the pay-per-view online. Click here for more information.
Odds: Cotto is favored between -210 and -250, making him not a huge favorite, but a firm one. Margarito's lines are between +165 and +195.
PPV Undercard: Brandon Rios vs John Murray (12, Lightweights) ... Mike Jones vs Sebastian Lujan (12, Welterweights) ... Pawel Wolak vs Delvin Rodriguez II (10, Junior Middleweights)
Off-TV Undercard: Top Rank will be streaming the off-TV undercard live, starting at 6 p.m. EST. Bad Left Hook will have the stream available right here on the site, so check in around 5 p.m. EST for that.
The off-TV undercard is as follows:
Light Heavyweights (6): Mike Lee (7-0, 4 KO) vs Allen Medina (9-19-1, 1 KO) ... Junior Middleweights (6): Glen Tapia (11-0, 5 KO) vs Mike Ruiz (15-6, 7 KO) ... Light Heavyweights (6): Sean Monaghan (10-0, 7 KO) vs Santos Martinez (2-2, 2 KO) ... Bantamweights (4): Hanzel Martinez (14-0, 12 KO) vs Felipe Castaneda (6-3-1, 3 KO) ... Featherweights (4): Braulio Santos (4-0, 4 KO) vs Tommy Garcia (3-3, 2 KO) ... Welterweights (4): Samuel Figueroa (1-0, 1 KO) vs Latwon Halsey (0-0-1, 0 KO).
Miguel Cotto has been in some wars in the boxing ring. It’s one of the reasons for his popularity, he virtually always makes for exciting fights. Because of the punishment he’s taken, Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) no longer finds himself near the top of many boxing pundits’ pound-for-pound lists. But he’s as tough as they come, and as long as he’s an active fighter, Cotto will be a test for anyone who opposes him.
He hasn’t kept as busy or as notable a schedule as he did in the mid-2000s, a run that validated his career with wins over the likes of Shane Mosley, Paul Malignaggi and Zab Judah. Cotto will once again call Madison Square Garden his home this Saturday when he looks for revenge against Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KO). Before we move on to previewing their brawl, here’s a look back at Cotto’s last three fights.
March 12, 2011 – Miguel Cotto TKO-12 Ricardo Mayorga
Cotto was about a 10-1 favorite heading into the fight, and while he didn’t dominate as many thought he would, came away with a late knockout victory. The bullish Mayorga, as he has throughout his whole career, came forward and made it a brawl. After a rousing start by both men, Cotto was able to take over the fight in the middle rounds and showed his superior skill, hitting some signature hooks to the body to wear down the Honduran. In the final round, Cotto connected with a flush left hook, forcing a stoppage. It wasn’t incredibly impressive, but it was exciting.
June 5, 2010 – Miguel Cotto TKO-9 Yuri Foreman
Cotto moved up to the 154-pound limit for a shot at titleholder Yuri Foreman, a fight billed as the Stadium Slugfest – boxing’s return to Yankee Stadium. The nickname for the fight didn’t exactly bear out, as Cotto proved to be far and away the better man. The fight took a strange turn as Foreman’s knee gave out in the seventh round, and in the eighth, his corner threw in the towel. But referee Arthur Mercante Jr., as he had authority to do, said the fight should go on if Foreman wanted. Foreman fought valiantly on, but could only go as far as the ninth round before Cotto nailed a left hook to the body, putting Foreman on the canvas and finally forcing Mercante to stop it. It was a rare fight where both fighters won, as Cotto improved his record while Foreman won some fans with his toughness.
November 14, 2009 – Manny Pacquiao TKO-12 Miguel Cotto
Cotto earned a shot in Nov. of 2009 with the sport’s best, Manny Pacquiao. Cotto did have some moments early, but Pacquiao’s speed and accuracy started to take their toll. Pacquiao floored Cotto in the third and fourth rounds and was able to dominate the rest of the way. It was the type of loss that led many to believe Cotto might call it quits, but there was really no shame in it at all. Pacquiao was truly at the top of his game then, and Cotto did almost go the distance.
In the eyes of many, Cotto’s loss to Pacquiao is the only true L on his resume because of the controversy behind his loss to Margarito in 2008. Whether or not Margarito fought that fight with loaded gloves, Cotto has a chance to avenge the loss. His career will likely not last that much longer, but people should realize that on Saturday night they’re watching a fighter who has only lost in his professional life to the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and a guy who possibly cheated.
Miguel Cotto is a pretty special talent, and we should all appreciate him while we have the chance.
Antonio Margarito last beat a quality opponent on July 26, 2008 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to become the WBA Welterweight Champion. That fight was against Miguel Cotto, who Margarito (38-7, 27 KO) fights this Saturday in the rematch at Madison Square Garden. Boxing is strictly a business and because of that, fighters who fill seats and sell pay-per-views get big time fights. The notorious Antonio Margarito is that, for better or worse.
This time around, the well-documented history between he and Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) makes Saturday’s fight a must-watch. Margarito certainly didn’t earn the big pay day he’ll get on Saturday with his recent in-ring form. Since the now-controversial win over Cotto in ‘08, Margarito has gone 1-2 and hasn’t done much to prove that he’s still one of the sport’s elite . Here’s a closer look at Margarito’s last three bouts heading into Saturday’s clash:
November 13, 2010 – Manny Pacquiao UD-12 Antonio Margarito
A lot of people thought this fight was a sham because Margarito really didn’t deserve a chance to fight Pacquiao, at the time the undisputed pound-for-pound king, and cash in after his handwrap controversy. But the state of Texas was willing to grant Margarito a license, and Top Rank’s Bob Arum was able to match Pacquiao with an in-house opponent and sell it as an action fight. There was some action but it was mostly one-way traffic, with the Cowboys Stadium crowd witnessing a thorough beatdown by Pacquiao that really should have been stopped at some point in the late rounds. Despite looking like a titan next to the diminutive Pacquiao, Margarito was achingly slow, and Pacquiao connected all night. Pacquiao won on scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 119-109.
The beating had serious ramifications and directly impacted Saturday’s fight with Cotto, as Margarito suffered a broken orbital bone that required surgery. When Top Rank decided to bring Cotto-Margarito to Madison Square Garden, it took until just a week ago for the state to grant Margarito a license, forcing him to be evaluated by doctors of its choice. If you take a look at this photo, you see why the state had reservations concerning his right eye.
May 8, 2010 – Antonio Margarito UD-10 Roberto Garcia
It’s been a long time since Margarito defeated anyone in a boxing ring. This was his last win, as he defeated Garcia by a wide unanimous decision. It’s hard to judge Margarito at all by this fight, given that he’d had a lot of time off and Garcia isn’t a world beater. But Margarito didn’t have any trouble, knocking Garcia down in the first round and cruising on scores of 99-89, 100-88 and 99-90.
The fight took place in Mexico, as Margarito at the time couldn’t get a license to fight in the United States because of the handwrap controversy. It was his last victory, and it was a very long time ago.
January 24, 2010 – Shane Mosley TKO-9 Antonio Margarito
Margarito was six months removed from the greatest win of his career, stopping Cotto in the 11th round of their first fight, one of the fiercest battles of recent times. Margarito had catapulted himself to the top of the boxing world as one of the sport’s most feared and avoided fighters. He was supposed to walk over Mosley, who, 37 at the time, came into the fight as a 4-1 underdog.
It was a whitewash, but it was Mosley who flipped the script and battered Margarito around the Staples Center for nine merciless rounds. It should have never reached the ninth round, as Mosley closed the eighth with a barrage that would have knocked out most guys. Margarito did answer the bell for the ninth, but it didn’t take long for referee Raul Caiz to step in, simultaneously with the towel from Margarito’s corner, as a helpless Margarito was out on his feet up against the ropes, taking vicious shots from Mosley.
Of course, we all know that Margarito entered the ring against Mosley after being caught by Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson with a plaster insert in his handwraps prior to the fight. Whether or not that played with Margarito mentally, we’ll never know. Had Margarito been using the loaded gloves in the past? Most have speculated as so, even without proof, and many point to his awful performance against Mosley where he struggled to land any meaningful shots as evidence. Whether or not that’s fair is up for debate, as it’s possible that he was more mentally affected by being caught than physically affected.
But there is no doubt that your punches will inflict more damage if your gloves are loaded than if they aren’t. And they won’t be this Saturday when Margarito faces Cotto. Since their battle in 2008, Margarito hasn’t shown much. He’ll have to do a heck of a lot Saturday if he wants to see his hand raised at the end of the night.
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