The Cotto-Margarito Aftermath: A Praise For The Now, A Glimpse At The Future

margarito cottoBy Vivek Wallace, photo by Chris Farina/TopRank: In what was a very colossal affair, fight fans around the globe got every penny of their monies worth as Mexican Antonio Margarito and Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto finally stepped in the ring to deliver on this years most highly anticipated showdown. In an era where fight fans are not always accustomed to witnessing a true showdown, this battle was definitely as good as advertised. Coming into this fight it was very clear that the two fighters - both of whom bring a very dominant will into the ring - would try to break the posture of the opponent, and after 11 hard fought rounds, the unthinkable happened. A pre-fight prediction rendered spoke ominously of the words of former Miguel Cotto victim, Alfonso Gomez, who once stated that "Many men have hurt Miguel Cotto, but the difference is gonna come against the guy who can close him". After 11 action filled rounds and plenty of peaks and valley's, some found out what a few already knew. That something is that unlike Mosley, Judah, and many of the past, Antonio Margarito is a bona-fide closer.

Few initially saw reason to go against Miguel Cotto and through better than the first half of the fight, he would show exactly why, connecting on virtually everything he threw.. Despite his ability to pick his spots and land some effective powershots, as earlier predicted, the true fight would start when Cotto realized that while his powershots could render physical damage, ultimately they would never deter the granite chinned Margarito who appeared slow and out of sorts for most of the fight, yet was still able to effectively walk down the better boxer and prove that better boxing skills can at times mean very little when the day of reckoning comes against an opponent who simply will not be denied. As great as the fight was hyped, and as much as we all knew the danger for Cotto in such a fight, for most - myself included - it was a painful and near tear-invoking experience to see such a class act rendered totally helpless beyond submission. The main base of the pre-fight predication was Margarito's ability to close, and what some new, tonight, others had confirmed.

Before we take a glimpse at what the future holds, it should be highly noted that even in defeat, Miguel Cotto was very gracious, and nothing short of the type of fighter this sport has long been without. In an emotional moment, despite a strong need to gather himself and collect his thoughts, he still took the time to come over to Antonio Margarito and not only thank him for the opportunity to take part in such a huge spectacle, but also tell him personally that he "was an excellent fighter, and that he [Margarito] did his job better in the ring". Former NBA Headcoach Pat Riley once stated that "in every loss or setback there's a seed of benefit equivalence". The greatest relative examples.......When formerly undefeated Paul Williams lost, we saw him come out and refuse to be denied ever since. When Antonio Margarito lost to him, we saw him go to the drawing board and change strategies, allowing him to reach this pinnacle. With all of the heart and courage that Cotto exudes, there's no doubt in my mind that the next time we see him he will take his name to new, previously unheralded heights. We wish him nothing but the utmost.


Tonight, right before many eyes, a transformation took place. After so many years of failing to live up to the hype, and so many years of collapsing on the big stage, Antonio Margarito was able to rise to the occassion and shine for the world to see. Despite the well known danger coming in for Miguel Cotto, few were actually ready to see this 'changing of the guard' actually take place. In wake of the Margarito victory, suddenly the skies part like the red sea. Miguel Cotto was considered the toughest challenge in the division, and Margarito not only defeated him, but subsequently found a way to do it on a grand scale. This now opens the dialogue relative to where he goes next. Oscar De La Hoya has openly spoken of facing the winner of this fight. After watching such a gutsy performance, I think it's safe to say that won't be happening. Most can remember the stories about the evening that Ricky Hatton defeated I believe Jose Luis Castillo, and how Oscar rang his cell phone immediately in the locker room to congratulate him, as well as try to sell him on a showdown to potentially take place in Great Britain. Well, I can guarantee you that Margarito's phone never rang, and that this is a call that will never come.

Considering the Mexican heritage, it would be a great way for Oscar to end his career, but it's probably safe to say that the only thing in common between Oscars thoughts and Margarito's plan is the fact that they're both very 'green'. It has been confirmed that Oscar De La Hoya has instead decided to hone in on the smaller Manny Pacquiao, leaving Margarito contemplating which rematch he wants to take first. There is either the Paul Williams rematch which was bound to happen considering that Margarito did do very well in the initial fight despite a slow start, or the Joshua Clottey rematch, because it is widely believed that he will somehow edge Zab Judah based on his power and unrelenting pressure. If Margarito doesn't pursue either rematch to collect another strap, it'll be very hard to see his stock continue to rise, because a precious few other options remain. At any rate, the answer to that question is one for tomorrow, but as for now, we celebrate a victory for a fighter whose 'coming out' party has been long over due.

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at 954-857-6858,, or show some love at

Article posted on 27.07.2008

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