Boxing


Will Over Skill - Margarito Prevails

By Paul Strauss: Max Kellerman described the essence of the fight, when he said it was an example imposing will over skill. The fight went as the experts predicted. The consensus was Cotto was too fast and skilled for Margarito. Cotto's fight plan was to use that speed and boxing ability to take advantage of Margarito's mistakes, making him pay..

In the early rounds, Cotto moved well and landed what appeared to be punishing combinations, snapping Margarito's head back. The Tornado remained calm. He kept walking Cotto down. The second round was a great round, with Margarito landing lefts to the body. Just before the end of the round, Cotto executed one of his patented moves, stepping back momentarily, just enough to give his opponent the impression he was safe, and then quickly stepping back in and landing a straight left. Cotto came out of the round with a slight nose bleed.

In the third round, referee Kenny Bayless warned (for a second time) Margarito for low blows. Margarito was stealing Cotto's signature punch, the left hook to the body. His left came in the form of a hook, then an uppercut, then straight, and again and again. Cotto's corner tells him, "There's no reason to be on the inside!"

Margarito's will and emotion are readily apparent in the fourth round. He repeatedly walks through Cotto's heavy punches. Even though it appears Cotto is piling up points, Margarito seems to steal the round at the end with damaging blows. Cotto seems shook up. Margarito remains unfazed by anything landed by Cotto.

In the fifth, Margarito shows his ring savy by throwing punches, especially the right hand, toward Cotto's chest, and letting Cotto duck into them. More and more, the effect is evident. He is hurting Cotto. However, Cotto continues to move well for most of the round, and effectively counters. Toward the end of the round, Cotto puts on a show, slipping, sliding, ducking and snapping away from a flurry of Margarito's punches. Still, Cotto fans can't help but be concerned about Margarito's pressure.

In the sixth, Cotto again rally's with counters, which are sharper and cleaner blows than those thrown by Margarito. However, as Emanuel Stewart comments, there seems to be a not so subtle shift in the flow of the fight in Margarito's favor. Cotto does land a good left and right at the end of the round, but Margarito refuses to let it bother him, as he continues to impose his will.

Half-way through the seventh round, Cotto appears seriously hurt, but he fights back and continues to land hard, clean punches. It's a war, but Margarito seems to have won the round, but starts out the eighth losing the skill battle again. In fact, Cotto probably out boxes him for the majority of the round, only to end up getting hurt again at the end. In the corner, Margarito's corner tells him they think he's winning the fight.

Harold Lederman's unofficial card has it even. Max Kellerman says, "I've got Cotto up by a couple of points. Cotto seems to take the ninth round with better boxing and more effective,
clean punching. In the tenth, Margarito seems a bit tired, with Cotto again winning the early part of the round. But, Margarito again hurts him late in the round, landing five clean shots. It's a very tough round to score.

In the eleventh, Cotto starts fast, but at about 1:32 of the round, Cotto is down from a combination. His face is a mess. It's hard to tell where all the blood is coming from........i.e. his nose, mouth, eyes? Seconds later the 8 to 5 favorite takes a knee under Margarito's onslaught, and the fight is over.

As Margarito says in the post fight interview, "The Tornado Rumbled!" His emotional edge, incredible stamina and granite chin caused the mental and physical breakdown of the great undefeated Cotto. Cotto did what he was supposed to do. He outboxed Margarito, He landed more punches, and at a greater percentage rate, but it didn't matter. It was "Will over Skill"!

During the post-fight interview, Margarito mentioned De la Hoya as a possible future opponent, adding it would be a real battle for Mexicans. Any other mortal would have been thinking about a nice long rest, but it seemed like Margarito was ready to go again, swollen eyes and all. What a great fight, and what a great fighter!

Article posted on 27.07.2008



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