Cotto Vs Margarito: Some facts, Opinions, and Ultimate Truths
23.07.08 - By George Ulrich: First up the facts….: Miguel Cotto is undefeated (32-0 26 KOs). He has beaten 2 upper echelon fighters in Zab Judah and Shane Mosley in the welterweight division. He has shown the ability to box, brawl, and his body attack has been devastating for some opponents. His jab might be underrated for its speed and accuracy, and his ability to fight going backwards was on display against the great Shane Mosley.
Article posted on 23.07.2008
Antonio Margarito has a record of 36-5 with 1 no contest and 26 KO’s. At 5’11 he’s tall for a welterweight. He fought a very heavy handed fighter in Kermit Cintron and knocked him out twice. His first three losses came in the first 15 fights of his career and he turned pro at age 15. His most recent loss was to Paul Williams, a fight he didn’t have to take, but wanted to keep his championship belt losing in a close decision. He has received accolades for his ability to take the hardest punches unfazed, and his punch output is among the highest in the division.
Now the opinions…..
Miguel Cotto has some exceptionally well rounded skills. He can bang with just about anyone, his hand speed is very underrated, and his ring generalship displayed in his last three fights was something of a marvel. His work ethic in training camp might only be equaled by his opponents for his next fight.
He’s been down in more than one fight, but not since the move to welterweight. He’s delivered a low blow or two after taking very hard shots that may have wobbled him a little (twice in the Zab Judah fight). His relationship with Angelista Cotto (his trainer and uncle) is strained according to several recent reports.
Cotto seems very focused as he has for all of his previous 32 fights. He’s a great fighter with wear you down skill, but no one punch KO power. Against the likes of Margarito though, no one has had one punch or any kind of knockout power. I wonder if the strained relationship between him and his uncle/trainer will play a factor in the corner on fight night. Will that somehow get in his head at all? Should he get on the inside and avoid the uppercuts he has been susceptible to in the past it could be key to getting those vicious body shots in on Margarito. We know he can throw a very fast and accurate jab, but will he attempt to continue jabbing if it’s not effective early in the fight? With Margarito’s height/reach advantage jabbing might be the key to getting inside, but jabbing also means being within striking distance of Margarito. Single jabs might get him too close to the Tornado. Jabbing in successful combinations however will keep Antonio honest in his approach to getting his own punches in. Another Key to a winning strategy will be the angles of attack. Coming straight forward will get Cotto put flat on his back; he’ll need to operate from all angles, never staying with his feet planted in one place for too long. He’s shown a great ability to do this in the past, but in this fight he will pay a greater price for not doing it than any other. His speed will need to be on display the entire fight.
Antonio Margarito has the hardest whiskers in the welterweight division. His take two to give one philosophy has been hard to argue with so far. His defense has been his will and his offense. Everyone that has tried to stand and trade with him paid a dear price for it. He has stamina unmatched by anyone in the division. The only time he’s not throwing punches is in between rounds. His punches on the inside are just as hard as when he is at distance. At 5’11 he’ll be 3 inches taller and arguably stronger than Cotto, which plays right into his fight plan for everyone he’s ever faced. He is never distracted or overly confident in a fight, his determination and power make him dangerous from the first bell to the last. He absolutely loves to fight in the ring. He will never back up, never back down, and never break in the face of even the biggest adversities. He fights better on the inside than on the outside.
Margarito has been very close to one dimensional his entire career. Has had slow starts in the past (though recently seems to have improved this) and gives away too many early rounds. His looping punches will make him a target for Cotto’s counter punching. Antonio takes a lot of punches throughout the course of a fight, which could prove hazardous in this fight. He’s been knocked down on body punches, which happens to be a specialty of Cotto’s. We have no idea how he might react to being wobbled by a punch because it hasn’t happened enough to him for him to have a game plan for it. Margarito doesn’t have fast hands or feet.
Antonio has some intangibles that make him more than a brawler. He’s not a dummy in the ring; he doesn’t lead with his face though it may seem so sometimes. There are some very subtle movements that he has mastered that play a part in his defense. He partially blocks a lot of punches and is usually moving his head with an incoming punch, not into it. Every punch he throws is with very bad intention and can put someone down in an instant. He has been a slow starter in the past, but seems to have recognized this as a problem and is in the process of correcting it. He throws his punches in combinations, never just one at a time. When he takes one to give one he usually ends up the better for it. When he gets close and inside his resolve is devastating. Even though his punches seem wide, often because they’re thrown in combination they land on target.
The Ultimate Truth:
This is the best match that can be made at this time in the hottest division in boxing. We as boxing fans crave this kind of match up. In this generation we have had very few of these fights. This is going to be our Haggler/Hearns. We know that going into this fight, our best guess as to the outcome is just that, a guess. No one knows what’s going to happen. The intangibles in this fight are too many to count, and make it very much next to impossible to predict with any kind of certainty who will win. One thing I do know is that with this match the fans win in a huge way. This is what we wanted, and now we’ve got it.
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