Showtime Shake Up: Cotto and Margarito Both Fall?

22.11.06 - By Onur Tezucar: On December 2nd, the boxing public will be privileged to see two fighters knocking on the door of greatness when Miguel Cotto (27-0, 22 KO’s) takes on Carlos Quintana (23-0, 18 KO’s) for the vacant WBA Welterweight title and Antonio Margarito (33-4, 24 KO’s) battles Josh Clottey (29-1-1, 18 KO’s) for WBO Welterweight supremacy. Clearly, you can only applaud both Margarito and Cotto for taking such difficult fights on the wake of future bigger and better prize fights.

Both fighters could have showcased themselves on hand-picked mirage match-ups, that could have amplified there profiles against cupcake opposition. Yet with these match-ups, their courage and internal fortitude may just be their Achilles heel. With Fight of Year honor’s still up in the air, this Showtime card has dark horse fight of year written all over it.

With the very real scenario of a dual upset in America’s Playground remaining a strong possibility, just ask boxing handicappers, who have still failed to provide a line for this fight, a fight that is 11 days away, I repeat 11 days away. The Quartey vs. Wright fight had a line the day after its announcement, months ago. Why the indecisiveness? Well, possibly it’s fear of the unknown. How good are Cotto and Margarito? We shall all learn a lot on Saturday night.

The first fight of the night is Clottey vs Margarito, a bout that promises to be a very messy fight. Both are straight ahead action fighters that should provide fireworks from the opening bell. The one intangible that stands out here is head butts. Clottey is a wild awkward fighter, who often leads with his head and seems to always provide a point deduction or two through out the course of fight. If there’s a bugaboo for any fighter, even a rough and tough customer like Margarito, it’s cuts that distort vision.

If Margarito is to win this fight, he must be patient and look for countering opportunities. More than that, he must be cautious, periodically weathering the head first, gloves second assaults by Clottey, then look for openings. Particularly down the stretch, as Clottey does have the propensity to tire in the late rounds, becoming sloppy and leaving himself exposed.

I’m not entirely sure Margarito can resist banging with Clottey, especially if Margarito’s warrior mentally takes over. If he makes this mistake, I can see Margarito losing his late round conditioning advantage by expending too much energy engaging in dangerous flurries and receiving unnecessary damage, thus turning the match into a dog fight toss up when he could easily instead impose his technical superiority and cruise to victory.

The second fight Cotto vs Quintana is equally as enticing, if not more. This will be the first time Cotto will face serious opposition at Welterweight. Quintana has adequate punching power and at Welterweight, is 7 lbs. heavier then Cotto’s normal fighting weight. For Cotto, this will be a major test, one where his shaky chin will be tested early and often. Quintana is a slick counter punching southpaw, and more skilled than any opponent Cotto has thus far faced. The last time Cotto faced a slick southpaw was Demarcus “Chop, Chop” Corley, who Cotto had trouble with early on, though, in the end Cotto cruised to victory, but his chin was exposed. During that bout, Corley not known for his punching power, was a wind gust away from knocking out a very badly wobbled Cotto.

Now, enter confident southpaw Carlos Quintana, whom is a harder puncher, a better counter puncher and has a decent chin. This could equate to some serious drama. Southpaws are never easy to deal with when you’re an orthodox fighter. However, when your defense is lacking and equilibrium is not sturdy, you may see a very unsteady Miguel Cotto hanging on for dear life, for the third fight in two years.

Rarely do we get to see two relatively high profile cards on one night for free. Boxing fans who root for underdogs may be in for a treat, being that we have to two of boxing’s elite, up against unheralded formidable fighters. In the end, a shake up in the Welterweight division looms large.

Article posted on 22.11.2006

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