Chris Farina/Top Rank
Chris Farina/Top Rank
Chris Farina/Top Rank
Tonight’s fight between Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29KOs) vs Antonio Margarito (38-7-1, 27KOs) is the highly anticipated rematch that many boxing fans have been waiting for. Miguel Cotto tip the scales yesterday at 152 1/4 lbs while Antonio Margarito came in ripped at 152 1/2 lbs. This is the type of fight that boxing fans love to see. All the ingredients are there for an all out war. You have the Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry. You have the good guy vs villain side. You have Cotto trying to avenge his first loss in which he believes he was a victim of Margarito’s use of plaster of paris. And you have Margarito who claims that he is a clean fighter and will seek to repeat the same beating that he gave Cotto in their first fight to end all doubts. Oh, and did I mention that these two boxers really hate each other! One thing is for sure, tonight’s fight is going to be a war, there is no doubt about that.
Miguel Cotto really believes that Antonio Margarito had his gloves loaded when they first fought in 2008. Many boxers and boxing analysts have debated whethere Margarito did used or didn’t used plaster of paris in his fight against Cotto. Some say that he did, others say he didn’t. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has to this date denied that Antonio Margarito had his gloves loaded. They insist that they inspected Margarito’s hand wraps and nothing was found in them.
Cotto comes into this fight motivated to demonstrate that he was cheated after suffering his first defeat. He not only carries that hand wraps scandal as a motivation but he also carries the loss of his father as the source of his motivation entering into tonight’s fight. It will be interesting to see how Cotto comes out in the first round. What adjustments has he been working on? Will Cotto stick to the basics and try to out box Margarito? Will we get a repeat of the first 6 rounds from their first fight but hope that Cotto can do it for the remainder of the fight? Will Cotto actually try to go toe to toe with Margarito? Is Cotto going to aim at Margarito’s right eye from the opening round or will he wait to find an opening? How will Cotto be able to handle Margarito’s pressure? Can Cotto handle Margarito’s body shots? Is Cotto able to box and fight going backwards? All these questions will be answer one way or anoher during the fight.
For Miguel Cotto to win his best chance is to outbox Margarito. He needs to out jab Margarito, throw 2-3 combinations and move away. I don’t see Cotto standing toe to toe with Margarito. Another interesting point to take into consideration is Miguel Cotto’s conditioning. Is he prepare to last 12 rounds of constant pressure? Miguel Cotto looked very slow to me in his last fight against Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga was able to land couple hard shots on Cotto. Let’s hope that Cotto’s trainer was able to really study the first fight and make the adjustments necessary for Cotto to improve his chance of winning tonight.
Antonio Margarito is just as motivated as Miguel Cotto is. He comes into this fight with all eyes on him. Not only because of the hand wraps scandal but because of his right eye. He mentions that his eye is 100%. One thing is being hit on your eye while wearing head gear in sparring sessions and another is being hit with 10oz. gloves in an all out war. If Margarito’s eye gets inflamed will the fight be stopped or will the referee let the fight continue. Now the referee for tonight is Steve Smoger; the same referee who let Wolak fought the remainder 2 rounds with a huge right eye against Delvin Rodriguez.
For Margarito to win he needs to be himself and that is keep the pressure for the whole fight. If it worked in the first fight, chances are that it might work again. As they say, if it’s not broken why fix it. What Margarito needs to do is improve his defense. He can’t expect to just take Cotto’s punches just so that he can connect with two of his own. He needs to try to block as many punches as he can and show head and lateral movement. He cannot be like a robot who moves forward and try to bully Cotto into the corner. If Margarito catches Cotto in the ropes, it will be interesting to see the combinations that Margarito will apply. Will he go 2 upper cuts then a left hook or will he just pound the body and come upstairs. Margarito needs to fight with intelligence and not with emotions. The same can be said for Cotto. If Margarito is able to take the crowd out of the fight in the early rounds, it will be a long night for Cotto. Margarito has to fight the same way he fought against Glen Johnson when he fought him at Madison Square Garden couple of years ago. Margarito started off fast and was able to deliver a vicious first round knockout. He can also look back and remind himself how he fought Roberto “la amenaza” Garcia in his first fight back since the hand wraps scandal. That fight was fought at 154 and was coming off a long layoff. Margarito looked great in the fight. Obviously, Garcia is not a Cotto, but in those two examples, Margarito demonstrated quickness and boxing ability, especially in his fight against Garcia.
I don’t see Miguel Cotto standing toe to toe with Margarito and don’t see his punches doing that much damage to Margarito. In this division, Antonio Margarito has the advantage over Miguel Cotto. Some people have speculated that this fight might be fix to bring Cotto peace of mind but I don’t believe that. If Margarito starts off slower than his fight against Pacquiao, leads only with weak left jabs and weighs more than 165 pounds then I will question the fight. A fight of this magnitude cannot be fix especially with the hatred that both fighters have towards each other. But, then again, this is Bob Arum and the Boxing Mafia usually has a hand in big fights like this. A good example is the recent fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, where Marquez clearly defeated Pacquiao. Let’s hope that tonight’s fight won’t go to the judges and the fans will see an all out war. I have Margarito winning by a late round stoppage between the 8-10 round.