by EZ E - After watching the short HBO preview of Cotto vs Margarito II "FACE OFF With Max Kellerman" I find it somewhat easy to relate with Miguel Cotto's comments, calling Tony Margarito's 'never say die/quit' stand against Manny Pacquiao pure STUPIDITY. I’ve been around the game since childhood, my father and uncle are ex-fighters that trained and managed fighters throughout my youth and teens. I’ve seen alot of brave fighters, champs, contenders and little regarded club fighters which I admired and that aren’t doing too good these days, suffering of poor health, brain damage, dementia, liver and kidney other serious health issues and problems related to their ring days. Unfortunately there are many more on the way.
Yes, many, many more. I see them at fight cards I attend. Some I trained along side of and sparred with for years now can barely recognize me. For others the ‘symptoms’ are beginning to show. A year from now a few won’t even remember me anymore as well. My beloved uncle ‘forgot’ who I was and so did my cousin, a 2 time New York Golden Gloves champ who later fought close to 40 pro fights. It’s the sad part of the game that many fans overlook.. Practically NONE of the fans that these brave men once entertained will lift a finger to help them get into their seat nor buy them a drink. Some even make fun of these warriors. There’s this one ex world title challenger that I once fought when we were amateurs that I now visit from time to time. He’s not doing too well either. He didn’t make much in his day and his managers practically made more than he did. He lives alone in a clean but old house, a house he himself bought and later inherited from his mom. He purchased the house from his uncle, her brother, over 30 years ago. On a few un-announced visits I found him hitting an worn and decaying heavy bag he had hanging from a tree in his back yard. He seemed to come to life as he let loose combos and ‘danced’ around. Last year I bought him a new one with my income tax return check. Lately the ‘symptoms’ have been accelerating. He shuffles as he walks, his speech slurred. I can notice how his mind seems to wander off and how he closes his eyes to concentrate.
In the HBO segment Cotto stated that he wasn't willing "to die in the ring" for the fans or personal reputation. For this folks on other sites have already began criticizing Cotto and comparing his words and courage to those of Victor Ortiz after the Marcos Maidana fight. Well, first of all, Victor Ortiz didn’t take any punishment compared to Cotto. Did Cotto ‘cowardly’ take a knee in his punishing brawl with Margarito in July of 2008?? hmmmm… Well, what was he to do? He knew he was beaten up pretty bad already, could barely breathe from his busted nose, his ear dripping blood, weakened by the PUNISHMENT he had ALREADY ABSORBED!! He knew that he NO LONGER had the strength to keep the oncoming Margarito off him. Was he supposed please the fans and continue to be battered until TOTAL HELPLESSNESS or until he was knocked into COMPLETE HEALTH THREATENING UNCONSCIOUSNESS?? Is THAT what he’s paid for?? Didn’t he prove enough? Was he supposed to risk it ALL? For WHO?? The fans??? hmmmm.. Do you know how many “fans” care about my friend, my cousin or my long deceased uncle?? Do you what to know how many visitors my friend or the legendary Wilfredo Benitez get?? I’ll tell you, practically NONE!! No love offerings, handouts, card shows, no visits... NOTHING and NOBODY!
Tony Margarito is one tough S.O.B., no doubt about it. He has a different outlook on his profession. To him it’s "win or DIE trying" at all cost. That’s him. Fortunately Manny Pacquiao was merciful enough to hold back from the tenth round on or Tony might not be fighting on December 3rd nor ANY OTHER DAY!! We all UNDENIABLY saw how Pac looked to the ref on a couple of occasions, hoping he’d intervene. On the other hand Cotto expresses that’s fighting is his job, putting in a good days work and go home to his family. Twenty five or thirty years from now he might be glad he took his knee while enjoying his health, wealth and family. Tony?? Hopefully he will also do the same and not end up with the “symptom” that now haunt my ex-adversary friend, my ‘do or die’ cousin or Benitez or Bobby Chacon, Denny Moyer, Greg McClellan….. and many, many more of the fighters that entertained and thrilled us and we’ve somehow FORGOTTEN about.
Before I end this comment allow me to say that a few years ago I once asked my cousin what would he prefer, his ‘do or die’ fame or his health? He answered,”I would still be a fighter BUT I would’ve taken better care of my marbles. What good are thirty year old cheers and scrapbooks if you aint got the marbles to remember them??” These days my cousin doesn’t remember ever saying those words nor much of anything else, sometimes he doesn’t even remember me. Peace to all!!