Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cotto vs. Margarito II Dec 2011- Background Info



          Perhaps what I consider to be the sporting event of 2011 will be Cotto vs. Margarito II in December; it has the potential to be anyway. This is for several reasons, but one of them is that the world has likely never seen a legitimate Cotto vs. Margarito I. These are the events surrounding their first bout where Cotto was 'defeated' in what many consider to be a questionable victory.

          The saga began when Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto fought America's "Sugar" Shane Mosley in Nov. 2007.  The fight went the distance and they went to the scorecards. I've heard many announcers say that Cotto "outpointed" Shane. Experts didn't seem to want to take away from Cotto's victory by emphasizing there was no KO, but rather they emphasized how close the fight really was. Cotto went into the fight undefeated and he left with his record in tact against a man who has been a champion in 3 different weight classes.

          The next year, in July 2008, Cotto was set to fight Mexico's Antonio Margarito- Cotto vs. Margarito I. I'm not a boxing expert like my grandma, IBHOF nominee Margery Miller Welles. However, I have been following the sport for some time and this is what I knew about Margarito going into the first Cotto fight:

          Boxers are sometimes put into categories. Some are fast like Shane Mosley. Some are smart. Teddy Atlas loves to talk about people using their height to their advantage by persisting with jabs to keep an opponent at a distance until there is an opportune time to throw a hard right. One reason why Shane has been so successful is that he's both fast and smart. And then, some boxers are simply good punchers such as Joe Louis. Boxing is called the "Sweet Science" for a reason in that certain mechanics can be taught, but boxers such as Joe Louis seem to have a natural ability to put power behind their punches.

          What was odd about Margarito is that he seemed to be none of these. When I watched him fight, and when I'd seen him he had always been victorious, I could never figure out a real method or system behind what he was doing. He's tall and he's strong, but he's not fast, and he doesn't use his punches in a calculated manner.  Instead, he throws punch after punch, over and over again, until his opponents finally succumb to the beating.

          A fighter like Arturo Gatti radiated heart. I remember when Gatti died Teddy Atlas repeated over and over on Friday Night Fights that it was impossible for someone to fight with as much heart as Gatti did and to not transfer that heart into other aspects of one's life. I never saw any kind of spark like that from Margarito. 

          Cotto vs. Margarito I was the worst fight I have ever seen. Cotto started the fight undefeated and many people, including myself, wanted him to keep his record. Miguel Cotto is very likable, he seems to conduct himself with honor and integrity. It's hard to explain the beating Cotto got in the ring that day before his trainer finally threw in the towel. Sometimes boxers get cut above or below their eyes and there is natualy a lot of blood and swelling. That doesn't describe what happened to Miguel.  Since then he has not been the same in that it seems as though there is often a ghost in the ring with him. Again, Margarito looked the same as he always had, no method to speak of, to spark, no real power behind his punches.

          Mosley then agreed to fight Margarito in Jan 2009 and, although Shane was a 37 year old 4-1 underdog, he knocked Margarito out in the 9th round. Before the fight, Shane's trainer noticed as Margarito's hands were being wrapped that Margarito had plaster in his gloves. Margarito's hands had to be wrapped three times before officials were satisfied. He was suspended for only 1 year, although many believe he should have been suspended for life. 

          The world will never know if Margarito cheated in the same manner in his fight against Cotto. However, I for one cannot wait to see Cotto destroy Margarito this time. Margarito took his record and he took his confidence. Cotto can't get his record back, but I believe if he defeats Margarito this December 2011, as I know he can, perhaps Cotto will finally stop seeing ghosts. 

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