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Cotto v Margarito II Analysis

Antonio Margarito Miguel CottoBy Liam Brindle & Lee Demain: With the fight only 6 days away and having watched Cotto v Margarito 1 several times over the past 3 years there remains several questions marks beside both.

The first point we would like to make is the start Miguel Cotto (36-0-2) made in the fight. He was able to dictate the pace by firing out a solid and very accurate jab (Cotto is a left handed fighter with an orthodox stance which means he has a very powerful jab) and when given the opportunity he was able to plant his feet and dig in some powerful and hurtful combinations to both the body and head, up to the 6th round the fight looked like it could be a white wash…but the durable and war hardened Margarito (38-0-7) continued to walk forward.

Margarito took some of the best single shots and combinations that Miguel Cotto has ever thrown and continued to walk down the Puerto Rican with a sadistic smile spread across his face and shaking his head. It was nothing technical or well thought out, he simply walked Cotto down in straight lines, rarely slipping or rolling punches and often crossing his legs as he walked forward. He just had his gloves up and let the shots land where they where intended to land, he was able to do this until Miguel Cotto ran out of gas. At which point Antonio Margarito showed the world why he is known as ‘The Tijuana Tornado’ unloading power shot after power shot on the now helpless Cotto.

Margarito delivered one of the most brutal beatings seen in a boxing ring in recent times, forcing Cotto to take a knee with 1:40 remaining in the 11th round and again with 1:05 remaining and the white towel was shown from the red corner and Antonio Margarito had ripped Miguel Cottos WBA Welterweight world title away from him and handing him his first loss in the process. Miguel Cotto was bleeding from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth and was nearly unrecognizable at the bell.

Fast forward to January 2009, We all know what went on before the Margarito v Mosley fight, this naturally raised questions about the legitimacy of Margaritos win over Cotto just six months earlier… and for all the people who say ‘how do you know?’ the truth is we will never 100% know the truth, but consider this; why would you wear illegal hand wraps to defend your belt against an ageing fighter who had 5 defeats and had been beaten by Cotto (who Margarito had just beaten) but not wear them against an undefeated, dangerous champion in the biggest fight of your life? As we say, we’ll never know, the only men who do are Antonio himself and his now ex trainer Javier Capetillo.

Cotto made some great points in the face off (at first we thought it was a bit tit for tat bringing an iPad out and arguing over a picture of Margaritos wraps post Cotto fight) but in the first episode of 24/7 he made a great point about the confiscated wraps from the Mosley fight (ultimately the incriminating factor in the whole debate) When Antonio had his wraps taken off him pre-Mosley fight, he hadn’t laced up a glove, yet the wraps were stained with a reddish dye on the right hand side, this can happen when a fighter is involved in a long 12 round fight as the gloves heat up the dye runs from the glove and thus stains the wrap…but Margarito’s wraps were supposedly fresh BEFORE putting his gloves on to fight Sugar Shane…was he trying to use old illegal wraps say…from the Cotto fight? All Margarito could do behind his shades on 24/7 was deny he’d ever cheated and said ‘that was it. Period’ I’m afraid it’s not as simple as that, and Miguel Cotto has taken it as threat to his own health and safety that Margarito would use loaded gloves. This brings us to our next point.

On December the 3rd will Miguel Cotto be fighting in his usual cool, patient and calm manor we’re used to seeing him fight in? Waiting for the openings and choosing the right time to strike? Or will he be fighting with hatred, anger and ultimately revenge on his mind? We also saw how emotional he got in 24/7 surrounding his father and his untimely death, this will only add to the drive and determination to win, add to that 18,000 screaming Puerto Ricans in his second home New York City. If he does get into a slugfest with the bigger, heavier Magarito he will lose again, he showed in the first fight he’s the superior boxer, a lot more skilled and lot slicker, Margarito is very one dimensional, he’s tough, very tough and as we mentioned, will plod forward with a sadistic smile all night long, the key to Cotto winning this fight is to box and be clever like the first fight, but this time around he needs to be in the condition of his life, he is going to be stalked all night long, he needs to train for 60 rounds of fighting on the back foot, getting his shots and combinations off then rolling out again, this time Margarito won’t have the added thud the wraps provided in the first fight, that’s IF he had them.

What Margarito will have is the weight advantage, he’ll be a lot more comfortable at 154lbs than 147lbs, emphasized by the fact Cotto wanted a 150lbs catch weight, a second weigh in the day of the fight AND a cap of 160lbs for which Margarito couldn’t rehydrate past, all of that was thrown out and they finally agreed on just a catch weight of 153lbs. What does that mean? Cotto is scared? Or does he want to make it as hard as possible for Margarito, after all, he is damaged goods, Cotto is the champion, Cotto also said he’d never make another dollar off Cotto’s name, so why shouldn’t he call the shots? But for us this does show Cotto is worried slightly, he’s naturally a welterweight and is a small Light Middleweight at only 5’7” contrasting with Margarito a gangly 5’10”. Another factor that worried us is the change in trainer for Cotto, he’s parted ways with hall of famer Emmanuel Steward and brought in Cuban Olympic boxing coach Pedro Luis Diaz, a man Cotto says he’s been friends with for many years and is an excellent coach, we don’t think you get much better than Manny Steward, and the reasons cited for the split were calendar clashes (‘bad’ Chad Dawson also split with Steward citing the same reason) that aside we think Cotto has improved a lot under Stewards tutelage, his Jab is superb and he has him boxing like he was before the Margarito loss.

We think the way Cotto deals with the constant pressure of Margarito is going to be key, how he absorbs the walk downs, gets his shots off and moves, we recently watched a video of Cotto in an open workout and noticed Diaz walking Cotto down on the pads, he was walking at some pace too, not letting Cotto rest and pick a shot, it was only simple jabs one twos and hooks, but the way he walked in was strange to see, keeping in close proximity to Miguel, this is obviously designed to not let Cotto rest on the ropes and take a breather, like we said, he needs to be prepared for 60 rounds of throwing and moving. Diaz was also tossing golf balls to the left and right of Cotto who in turn would catch them with either hand then throw them back, we can only guess this is designed to have Miguel moving left or right in a split second, working on his reactions to move away from Margarito. I think Diaz has identified that this fight isn’t about power for Miguel, it’s about boxing clever, moving away from Margarito and if needs be, outpointing him, we can’t see anything but a KO in this fight though.

A few words about Antonio Margarito, we cannot stress how tough, durable and how much heart this man has but you have to question, how many miles are on the clock?

Since that Cotto fight back in 2008 Margarito has only fought 3 times : Shane Mosley stopped the Mexican, Margarito won a points decision against elbow Mexican Roberto Garcia and 13 months ago Margarito was subject to a brutal beating at the hands of Manny Pacquiao (who took his foot off the gas in the final 3 rounds, sparing Margarito a KO defeat).

Now this leads us onto our final point, Antonio Margarito has not fought since that horrible beating he received off Manny, breaking his orbital bone in the process (which threatened to derail the fight in New York City, which we are flying from the UK for) now how much of this beating will be in Margarito’s mind as he climbs into the ring? Even for a man as tough as Margarito, being beaten up like that is hard to forget, it’ll be his first fight since that TKO in Texas, and although ‘ring rust’ is a clichéd saying, it’s also a very real one, Miguel Cotto last fought in March and 9 months before that in June, Margarito won’t have stepped into a ring in 13 months, never mind against a man with ability, hatred and disdain for him like Miguel Cotto, Margarito has been very active throughout his long career (Margarito turned pro at 15 and is now 33) the eye has been certified ‘OK’, but when Cotto begins to land that solid, accurate and powerful left jab to the eye (and he’s actually been quoted as saying he’ll target the eye) followed by hurtful left hooks, how will it feel physically? how will Margarito feel psychologically?

Obviously all the above questions will be answered on 3rd December at Madison Square Garden and all of the above is just our opinion, but we are convinced that all the factors above will culminate in a Miguel Cotto win via TKO or even KO… obviously we are by no means writing ‘The Tijuana Tornado’ off, but both our heart and more importantly our heads say Cotto.

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