Cotto replaces trainer Emanuel Steward for Margarito fight
By Dan Ambrose: WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO’s) has shockingly replaced his legendary trainer Emanuel Steward Cuban boxing trainer Pedro Luis Benitez for Cotto’s December 3rd rematch against Antonio Margarito (36-2, 29 KO’s) at the Madison Square Garden, New York, New York.
It’s unclear why Cotto is breaking with Steward, as he seemed to have made an improvement in Cotto’s game since he took over as a trainer. Cotto used a lot more boxing in his wins over Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga compared to how he fought in the past. It’s pretty clear that Cotto can’t go back to slugging it out with his opposition any more and get away with it like he did earlier in his career.
Cotto may be able to out-slug limited hand-picked opposition, but not against quality fighters. Steward had Cotto jabbing and using movement, which really helped his game because he was getting hit a lot less under Steward’s direction. Now it’s unknown how Cotto will be fighting with his new trainer Benitez.
If Cotto tries to slug with Margarito in December, we could see Cotto take another pounding and get stopped again. At 5’7″, Cotto doesn’t have the size to punch with the better fighters in the junior middleweight division like Alfredo Angulo, Saul Alvarez and Vanes Martirosyan.
As for Steward, this is his second big fighter that has let him go. Recently, two-time light heavyweight Chad Dawson replaced Steward with trainer John Scully, believing that Scully is a better fit for him than Steward.
Steward tends to train his fighters to jab, move and tie up opponents when they try and come in close. He’s considered to be an expert in training big fighters, but he’s also had a lot of success with smaller fighters as well. Steward really seemed to have made improvements in Cotto’s game because he was too focused on trying to slug with his opposition and it was causing him to take some severe beatings.
You now have to worry for Cotto going into the Margarito fight, because Benitez won’t likely make Cotto a better defensive fighter than Steward. And if Cotto reverts back to his old slugging style, Margarito may eat him alive with uppercuts and hooks.