Would Cotto have beaten Margarito last Saturday night?
By Dave Lahr: Boxing fans are raving how great Miguel Cotto looked in beating WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman last Saturday night in an 9th round TKO win at Yankee Stadium. They especially point to Cotto’s excellent movement and his greater use of his jab compared to his past fights. And while I can partially see what they’re about, I still didn’t see enough from Cotto that would make me think that he’s a different fighter than he was going into the bout.
The difference here is that Cotto was facing a non-puncher in Foreman, who before injuring his right knee in the 7th, was only periodically throwing meaningful punches. Mostly, Foreman was moving and throwing jabs and making it easy on Cotto. But when Foreman did throw right hands, he couldn’t miss. He nailed Cotto every time he threw a right hand it seemed.
That tells me that Cotto didn’t improve much in the area of defense, as he was just as wide open for shots in the Foreman fight as he was in his fights with Manny Pacquiao, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Speaking of Margarito, I wonder what would have happened had it been him in the ring with Cotto rather than the light hitting and injured Foreman?
I think Cotto would have had some serious problems because he wouldn’t have had to chase Margarito down like he did with Foreman. In fact, Margarito would probably be the one doing the chasing like he did in his 11th round TKO win over Cotto in July 2008. Margarito chased Cotto around the ring for 10 rounds until hurting him near the end of the 10th and then taking him out in the 11th. I think Cotto would have been in big trouble because he wouldn’t be able to beat Margarito with jabs.
Margarito would walk right through Cotto’s jabs, just to get to get inside on him so that he could blast away with uppercuts. I still doubt that Cotto can defend an uppercut. I think he’s probably still vulnerable to that punch and no matter how much time has gone by, Cotto would still probably find himself eating those shots if he were to fight Margarito.
Bob Arum, who promoters both Margarito and Cotto, would like nothing more than to match Cotto against Margarito next, if the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. can be made. If not, then Arum will put Pacquiao in with either Cotto or Margarito. But at some point, Arum is going to try and match Cotto with Margarito because that’s the fight that boxing fans want to see and it’s the fight, besides a fight against Pacquiao, that would being Margarito and Cotto the most money.
Once Pacquiao retires, Cotto and Margarito may have to fight because there will be few other big money opportunities out there for both fighters. Mayweather would still be there, but he might not be interested in fighting either of them. Mayweather hasn’t fought Cotto and Margarito up to this point in his career, so it’s reasonable to assume that Mayweather probably never will.
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