The long awaited rematch to a modern day boxing classic is now upon us. Cotto vs. Margarito 2 has all the ingredients for another great night. We have redemption and repayment on one side, on the other we have salvation and vindication, all mixed in with a great deal of bad blood.
Everyone loves a grudge match, and it has been three years since their first encounter. For those who didn’t see it (call yourself a boxing fan?) I will briefly sum it up.
The undefeated Cotto was a huge draw, going about his business in a talented division, and blowing people away in a cool, calm and collected manner. A very talented switch hitter, it was a seek and destroy mission every time he showed up, easily one of boxing’s elite fighters.
Margarito was boxing’s most avoided man, it seemed no-one really wanted a piece of him as the risk/reward ratio was stacked heavily in risk!
Constantly marching forward, sometimes even jogging, constantly throwing punches and the man could not be hurt, no matter what any fighter hit him with, and he is there to be hit…a lot. He didn’t go down, he just smiled and continued the vicious onslaught.
So, it was the classic unstoppable force meeting the unmovable object, add to that the fact that it was Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, we were always going to get fireworks.
Vegas was the setting, and Cotto started off fantastically, boxing and moving and Margarito could not catch him or pin him down, all the while Cotto just kept catching Margarito coming inside.
He would pepper Margarito’s face with punches as he marched forward then use his clever footwork to skip out of harm's way, yet was always in position to deliver hurtful shots on his foe. This continued for six rounds and Margarito had not really laid a glove on Cotto yet.
The tides changed after the middle rounds though, Cotto says he was gassed, Margarito says it was the relentless pressure that caught up with Cotto. Personally I think it was a bit of column A and a bit of column B.
But Cotto was all of a sudden not so nimble, and he didn’t look as powerful, and all the while he must have been thinking…”I have hit this guy with everything in the book, and he is still walking me down, smiling at me".
Margarito kept the pressure up and was really showing off how effective he was at it. Cotto’s face started to look swollen and messy and although he tried, just could not fight the rising tide and found himself on one knee after Margarito ripped some vicious uppercuts home.
Although Cotto got up, it happened again and the fight was over. Cotto’s 0 had gone, and Margarito looked unstoppable.
Cotto fought a few more times at welterweight, until a meeting with Manny Pacquiao at a catch weight of 144 pounds, which he lost. He then decided to make the journey up to 154 lbs or light middleweight.
Margarito went on to defend the title he won off Cotto against Sugar Shane Mosley, a former Cotto victim.
Margarito was found to have illegal hand wraps, which contained plaster of Paris, before the Mosley fight and he was ordered to re-wrap and go out and fight. An investigation would follow.
Margarito went out and tried to employ his good old fashioned 'walk you down, tear you up' tactic, and Mosley was having none of it.
Mosley was loading up big time, and when he was connecting it looked like he was genuinely having an impact on Margarito. If and when Margarito connected with Mosley, it looked like Mosley was shrugging the shots off.
By the ninth round, Margarito looked like a beaten man, and although he kept plodding forward, it was only a matter of time. He was giving Mosley all the time in the world and Mosley is no light puncher; Mosley annihilated Margarito, stopping him in the ninth.
Without going into details of how, what, why and who was involved with the hand wraps, Margarito was suspended for a year. Questions immediately surfaced regarding the hand wraps and whether he had used them before, i.e. against Cotto. Had Margarito ruined one of boxing’s biggest prospects by cheating? Cotto seems to think so.
But by this time, Cotto was the WBA world champion at light middle and had proved that he should be there with a couple of good wins over messr’s Mayorga and Foreman.
After serving his suspended year sentence, Margarito returned against Roberto Garcia, also at light middle. He won via points. Which (somehow?) earned him a shot at Pacquiao.
Pacquiao absolutely ripped Margarito to pieces, apart from one wobbler in the middle rounds where Margarito connected with a body shot, it was the Manny Pacquiao show. Margarito heard the final bell, but along with a battered, bloody and bruised face, his right orbital bone around his eye had been smashed to bits.
Since the “discovery” of the hand wraps, Margarito has not looked as indestructible or dangerous as he once was.
Cotto sees this as his opportunity to prove to the world that he was cheating the first time they met. Margarito sees it as his way of getting back to his status as the once feared champion that has looked gone in recent matches, and he thinks he beat Cotto fair and square.
Also, with this being at a higher weight, will Cotto carry more pop in his punch? To be fair, Margarito is really the only fighter that Cotto’s punches didn’t have an effect on, Cotto’s KO ratio is 76%, Margarito’s is 58%.
Their records currently stand at Margarito 38-7 and Cotto 36-2.
So, with it being at a higher weight, Cotto may carry more power, but then so might Margarito. Or Cotto may feel Margarito’s punches don’t hurt as much as their 2008 encounter…mysteriously…or he may feel they hurt even more.
There are plenty of questions surrounding this showdown and with good reason. Will Margarito’s eye hold up? Are they different fighters now?
Cotto has a new trainer, so does Margarito. I personally always hope for another classic in this scenario, with a Cotto win, so it sets up a third bout, but then that is me being selfish and wanting a trilogy.
Sometimes fighters who beat the man who beat the man, just can’t get the better of one particular opponent; perhaps Margarito has Cotto’s number?
In reality, I think Cotto walks away with this one, on points. I think he has learned from the first fight and will box off the back foot effectively and even use Sugar Shane’s example and load up on Margarito.
Should be a cracker and at the very least should answer all of those very relevant questions.