Tonight at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada, Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, 32-0 (26), defends his WBA Welterweight Championship against Mexican Antonio Margarito, 36-5 (26), who voluntarily gave up the IBF title to face Cotto.
This 147 pound bout could go a long way to deciding who the premier welterweight is.
Cotto, the two weight world champion is making the fifth defence of the title he first won back back in February, 2006. Vulnerable at 140 pounds, Cotto has seemed stronger since moving up to the welterweight division and has certainly grown into the weight with ease.
Big names such Zab Judah and Shane Mosley have been the names amongst the five defences of Cotto, and the bout against Mosley last November particularly impressed me.
Never an easy opponent and also coming off an impressive win against Fernando Vargas, Mosley used all the tricks in his arsenal to try and dethrone Cotto, but the Puerto Rican, showing his trademark calmness under pressure, rode the storm, especially Mosley's body punches, on the way to a hard fought but clear enough unanimous decision verdict.
Cotto's opponent tonight, Antonio Margarito, at 30 is two years older than Cotto. For the last six years, Margarito has been perceived as the dangerman of the division.
Since winning the WBO title in 2003, Margarito made five successful defences before meeting the highly touted American Paul Williams in July of last year, losing the belt on a close unanimous decision verdict, but won the IBF crown by knocking out Kermit Cintron in six rounds this past April.
In between his successful welterweight title defences, Margarito dipped his toes into the 154 pound division, losing a technical decision to old foe Daniel Santos following a cut eye stoppage after 10 rounds in September, 2004.
The welterweight division is certainly on fire at the moment. At one point, Cotto was on a collision course with our own Ricky Hatton, but thankfully the Hitman for the moment intends to remain at 140.
Big names such as Mosley, Judah and Mayweather all made successful jumps to win belts and American WBO Champion Paul Williams is currently the hot property.
For me, though, Cotto is THE Man at 147 pounds. The Puerto Rican seems be getting better and better with each fight, showing a maturity beyond his 28 years. For the winner, the carrot of Mayweather is there, but I for one think that will never happen. More realistically, a fight with Williams could await the victor.
Cotto is undefeated and Margarito has been defeated five times. Come Saturday night, as highly touted as Margarito is, I feel the loss list will rise to six for the Mexican.