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Steve Smoger to referee Cotto-Margarito bout on Saturday

Antonio Margarito Miguel CottoBy Dan Ambrose: WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto received some really bad news today with referee Steve Smoger being picked to referee this Saturday’s fight between Cotto and Antonio Margarito at the Madison Square Garden.

The reason this is bad for Cotto is that Smoger is an all action referee known for his hands off style of refereeing. He doesn’t get in the way of action, and has a habit of letting sluggers punch it out on the inside.

Smoger won’t step in and pull Margarito off of Cotto when he’s slugging him on the inside or run interference for Cotto by keeping Margarito apart from him. Smoger worked the Denis Lebedev vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight recently and let Lebedev slug away at a badly hurt Jones a little too long before he finally stepped after Lebedev brained a helpless Jones.

This is probably not the kind of referee that will help the smaller Cotto. He would likely do better with someone like Joe Cortez, who sometimes has a tendency of breaking the action on the inside.

Margarito is the better fighter in close and if Smoger will give him room to pummel the smaller Cotto, this could be a brutal beating for the WBA champion.

Smoger is the ideal referee for boxing fans who want to see action without a referee fouling things up by inserting himself into the action at the wrong times.

Cotto might need help if Margarito is teeing off on him on the inside with uppercuts, but Smoger won’t be that referee unfortunately for Cotto.

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