Pedro Diaz helps Cotto beat Margarito
By Kasim Aslam: World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto defeated fierce rival Antonito Margarito in an almost punch perfect fight. A rejuvenated and focused Cotto out boxed his opponent with a clever and patient display to regain his championship while dishing out revenge.
In a fight which lived up to the high expectations Cotto produced a display that was notably different from his previous bouts. His physical strength and conditioning had changed, his mentality had changed and his boxing skill had improved from previous fights against the likes of Yuri Foreman. The man responsible for these improvements is the fighter’s trainer, Pedro Diaz.
Pedro Diaz, a former Cuban armature coach is Cotto’s 3rd trainer in 4 years as he was set the task of training Cotto in arguably one of the biggest fights of his career. His PHD in Pedagogical Sciences and an ex university professor in sports science meant that he was more than qualified intellectually and academically to train and improve Miguel Cotto. Diaz’s background is shown in his training tactics and method which were heavily scientifically based. He analyses Cotto’s workout after every training session in order to optimize his performance and schedule in time for the fight.
In the HBO 24/7 documentary Diaz says “If you don’t plan you really are flying blind. The training plan is the trainer compass it what shows you the path”.
Diaz had bought new ways in which he could improve stamina, coordination, speed and power in a training regime that requires a fitness session on the beach 60 miles away from his gym. Yet the decision to appoint Diaz came under scrutiny as Cotto dropped hall of fame coach Emmanuel Steward for a very inexperienced professor in Cuba. Cotto’s decision was ultimately his final call; Diaz would come in place of Steward and train the fighter for the Margarito fight.
In his post fight interview Cotto stated “I am very happy and very proud of what I did tonight, the strategy worked. Margarito’s a very strong puncher, but I’m way better.”
During the fight it was evident as to what influences Diaz had bought. The difference was clear from the Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga fights. Cotto frequently used the jab with pin point accuracy to target the right eye of Antonio Margarito. He used the jab to full effect in every round constantly keeping up the number of successful punches on a frequent basis. The final PunchStat showed Miguel Cotto throwing 493 punches with 210 landing with a success rate of 43%, while Antonio Margarito threw 700 punches only landing 157 with a success rate of a minor 22%. Cotto’s movement and accuracy was due to his improved stamina levels which are attributed to trainer Pedro Diaz. With the effort on concentrating on more scientific side of the sport, Diaz admits that his efforts have increased Miguel recuperating power from 17.5% in October to 42% days before the fight. Improving aspect such as stamina and health allowed Cotto to work hard and thrown punches on a regular basis without exhausting himself out of the fight.
Diaz’s attributes did not start and end with his scientific research. During the fight Miguel was told to box a patient fight and was to evaluate the situation before he threw his punches. The traditional Cotto left hook and fierce body shots were not a frequent as in previous bouts, instead it was replaced with accurate jabs and eye dazzling combinations that had severely damaged Margaritos right eye. It was a more measured approach to out box Margarito instead of going toe to toe. Cotto looked a different fighter, a classier fighter and patient fighter in order to become the victor. The partnership formed with Diaz looks to have cemented itself with victory over Margarito that will allow the two to develop in the future. The risk to drop world renowned trainer Emmanuel Steward and replace him with the inexperienced Diaz paid off. Diaz’s new method into boxing training will certainly bring him more success in the future.