Bob Arum was straight to the point before this fight, stating ‘they don’t like each other’, and luckily the rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito lived up to its billing.
Many boxing fans, myself included wanted to see Cotto gain revenge for what many considered to a victory the Mexican cheated for with illegal hand wraps in 2008.
Antonio revelled in the role of the pantomine villain in the lead-up including the extremely chilling face off video with Max Kellerman, where he stated he would die in the ring to win.
Of Margarito didn’t die in the ring, but having said this when the fight was stopped at the start of 10th round I am adamant that he would have fought on the further rounds until the finish even if it meant losing his sight, which from the eye injury looked a distinct possibility. I may be wrong but considering the damage that Manny Pacquaio did in their fight in 2010, and having seen Margarito in the face off video, you could clearly tell where the re-constructive surgery had taken place.
Cotto as an fighter would, targeted the eye and opened up a cut in the third round which would ultimately prove the Mexican’s undoing. Whether the eye affected him throughout only he knows, but one thing is for sure; Cotto fought an almost flawless fight dictated by a superb jab and being able to hit on the move.
Very rarely did he get caught on the ropes by Antonio, although some stated whilst watching that they thought Margarito was walking him down as he had done in the previous fight as the rounds wore on. The difference this time, is that Cotto had hardly taken the amount of punishment he had in the previous fight, and thus was able to maintain the same tactics.
Cotto was also winning the exchanges, including some fantastic flurries in the 4th round when both men went toe to toe.
The doctors were in Margarito’s corner at the end of the 8th round as the eye had swelled shut, but the Mexican demanded to fight on. It proved to be his last stand as the doctors waved it off just over a round later, and rightfully so.
Antonio would have had a case if the fight was remotely close in terms on the scorecards but I had Cotto a comfortable 5 rounds up at the time.
Just as in the Manny Pacquaio fight Margarito showed he has the heart of a lion and won’t quit, but whether it worth risking his health and at present his sight is something only he can decide.
With regards to Cotto, he has now to look forward to possible matches with the highly rated pair of Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. At the beginning of the night it was mooted he may fight Floyd Mayweather next year, if he left Bob Arum but after committing his future to the promoter in the post-fight interview that appears to be off for now.
The most chilling words, were spoken by Cotto in the interview, when asked about Margarito,
“He means nothing to me.”
I think that tells you all you need to know about this rivalry.