Cotto v Margarito....what next?
By Shaun Brown: Would Miguel Cotto really want to fight Antonio Margarito again after the kind of defeat he suffered when losing his welterweight crown yesterday? In the opening stages of this fight Cotto was boxing beautifully. Countering at will, his movement excellent and to many, there may have been an argument that Margarito was being left to look outclassed and bewildered.. And each time Cotto went back to his corner in the first six rounds he probably knew he was winning the fight but he knew something else. He knew that the Tijuana Tornado was not being hurt, not being disheartened and was not going away.
Article posted on 27.07.2008
Too many a boxing fan, myself included Cotto was a heavy favourite for this bout with his record unblemished and his abilities improving after every fight. Margarito was the underdog. A knockout of Golden Johnson and a battering of Kermit Cintron was not enough to convince us all, especially with the performance he gave in the Paul Williams fight still lingering in the back of our minds. But as the days drew closer to this fight I argued with many a boxing fan that this would be Cotto’s toughest test to date and so it proved.
The Mexican was unrelenting. He never took a backward step. He occasionally smiled at Cotto’s attacks. The man was like a boxing terminator who seemed to be getting stronger and stronger as the fight grew.
When the blood started pouring from Cotto’s nose and seemed to be troubling him did the Puerto Rican’s heart then begin to break round by round? His face was bloodied and swollen but surely, he must’ve thought, it was he who was dishing out the punishment. And as he walked away from Kenny Bayliss after each round he could see that Margarito was not bothered by anything that was getting thrown at him.
As Cotto took his counts in round eleven and when the towel eventually was thown in by his Uncle, whose rocky relationship he has with will no doubt come under intense scrutiny, his face was actually grotesque and for many a Cotto fan very hard to look at. This was a wake up call to us all. Antonio Margarito has proved that, on his very best day, it is easy to see why he has become one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.
As for the fight itself it did not disappoint. Again boxing was the winner. This was not about how many pay-per-view sales were generated or who had the bigger collection of bling this was the two best welterweights going at it in eleven brutal and fantastic round that will live long in the memory of the sport. Another gem in welterweight title fights, another jewel in the crown of Mexican v Puerto Rican boxing rivalry.
Now that the fight is over and we begin to catch our breath there will no doubt be endless rumours and proposed agreements as to who and where these two men will next fight. Miguel Cotto, who was scheduled to fight again in December, may not fight again this year. This defeat will surely mean a lengthy recovery both physically and mentally. He was rumoured to be fighting Joshua Clottey in Puerto Rico by the end of the year should he be victorious over Zab Judah next weekend. Bob Arum certainly has a predicament now.
If I were in charge of these two fine boxing machines I would give Cotto a chance to redeem himself by indeed fighting the winner of Judah v Clottey. Not only would this put him back in the welterweight picture once again but the chance to resurrect his career in front of his adoring fans would surely prove too much of a lure.
As for Margarito he can certainly bask in the glory of an outstanding performance and enjoy a wonderful holiday with his family. But I’m fairly certain that inside him somewhere there will be a Mexican fire burning for a rematch with Paul Williams. We all know that Margarito was, to be honest, rotten that night he lost but now he has beat the number one welterweight and a unification fight with the WBO champion would be another brilliant night for boxing.
However as I said at the start of this piece would Miguel Cotto want to fight Antonio Margarito again? The defeat he suffered was somewhat brutal and the mental scars will be there for a while. But my concern would be how does he actually beat Margarito? At no point did he hurt the Mexican the way he himsel was hurt and wobbled during that fight. He did at stages fight the correct fight but when he backed up on the ropes inviting pressure. He was inviting, as it proved, a world of Mexican trouble and violence.
No doubt in the coming weeks many of these questions will be answered by the parties involved but for now I’m going to saviour that fight and watch it again and again and again….
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