The Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, is a homegrown product of the legendary Bairoa Gym in Caguas. He has been one of boxing’s most exciting and compelling characters over the last ten years. A skillful boxer, great pressure fighter and vicious body puncher, he almost always seems on the brink of disaster. Which of course, makes him an exciting fighter to watch.
Mexican star Antonio Margarito is a tough as they come. He is a relentless pressure fighter with an iron chin that throws deadly body punches and uppercuts. He isn’t pretty to watch, but his style is straight out of the alleys of Tijuana. He even looks like a border cartel member. He also might sport some of the worst hairstyles in Boxing today, but that is neither drug scales or cocaine rails.
Let’s talk about the handwrap issue for a minute. I am 99% sure that Margarito used loaded handwraps in the first fight. I even remember when I watched the fight, something seemed fishy. But that is boxing. If true, it makes Margarito one of the biggest scumbags in recent boxing history.
I have talked to several fighters that have sparred with Margarito (and this was before the Cotto fight) and I remember them telling me that Margarito “hit like he had bricks in his hands”.
HBO Boxing: Cotto vs. Margarito: Face Off with Max Kellerman
Miguel Cotto Keys to Victory
First off, Cotto needs to control, or try to control the pace of the fight. Which means, he will want the fight to go as slow as possible for as long as he can. He needs to move and avoid “the phonebooth”.
This is really a bad matchup for Cotto “style-wise”. He is at his best when he is moving forward and pressuring opponents. With Margarito, he has to fight moving backwards for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the size differential.
If Cotto gets hit hard, he is going to have to clinch and slow it down. He probably won’t do this though, since Cotto doesn’t really clinch. However, he is going to have to learn.
When Cotto stops moving, he is going to have to throw with leverage. This of course, gives Margarito a chance to land heavy leather, but Cotto needs to make Margarito respect him, and respect him early.
For Cotto, this is really going to be a battle of footwork, and he can’t stay on the ropes. And at all costs, he is going to have to use head movement and make Margarito miss. The less leather landed on Cotto early the better.
He also needs to throw straight punches thru the gloves of Margarito. The clean 1-2 is going to be a key punch for him.
Other punches to watch for Cotto are the short hook inside. Again, he needs to throw that one from the hip with leverage. He really need to get some rotation on it.
Antonio Margarito Keys to Victory
Essentially, Margarito needs to do exactly what he did last time.
The thing he needs to focus on most is cutting off the ring. The more violent and the more the fight turns into a bloodbath, the better it is for Margarito. He needs to keep the fight inside.
And again, Margarito needs to use his size. Because of their statures, Margarito almost seems like a weightclass or two above Cotto.
The punches to watch for Margarito are the uppercuts to the body from both hands on the inside. If he lands those early, expect a long night for Cotto.
Cotto vs Margarito HD Highlights (GP)
Factors in The Fight
Corners: Both men have different corners in this fight. Not sure who’s advantage this is.
Fight Stoppage: I can see this fight getting an earlier than normal stoppage. I don’t expect they will let Cotto take the kind of punishment he did in the first. And if Margarito’s eye acts up, I don’t think they will play around with that one either. Look for the ending to come quick if and when it does.
Low Blows: Both of these guys are heavy body punchers and they don’t like each other. Maybe even hate each other. Look for a potentially Game changing low blow.
Clashing of heads: These guys styles are prone to clash heads. If a big cut opens up, all bets are off.
The Venue: Madison Square Garden. Need I say more? In An Unforgiving Sport (great book by the way), Paul Malignaggi said that fighting Cotto in the Madison Square Garden is like “fighting the Devil in Hell”. And that is coming from a New Yorker. The heavy Puerto Rican crowd should uplift Cotto. And give him a little leeway on the judges cards.
Cotto: “Madison Square Garden for me, New York for me, it’s like home. And I know that’s going to be a huge Puerto Rican night, the night of December 3.”
Margarito: “The square is always the same in any ring. It’ll just be me and him. I’m going to come out with my hand raised as champion of the world.”
Good stare down:
Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito 2-Los Angeles Press Conference Highlights
Questions to be answered?
Is Cotto the same fighter after brutal losses to Margarito and Pacman? I have heard some interesting things on the boxing grapevine that say he isn’t. Which is really a shame if Margarito used loaded gloves.
Is Margarito the same fighter? After all, he hasn’t really set the world on fire after his “win” over Cotto. He got destroyed by Sugar Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao, and has had just one win over Roberto Garcia.
How is Margarito’s eye? Only the fight will answer this one. Margarito says, “As you can see, we keep training like it’s nothing. My eye is in perfect condition, it’s fine. If it weren’t in perfect condition, believe me, I wouldn’t fight.”
How is Cotto’s emotional state? Personally, I think he is convinced that the reason he lost the first fight was cheating. However, that resolve will be tested in rounds 6-12. Cotto says, “No matter what, I’m preparing myself to beat Margarito’s ass. He played with my health. I’m going to play with his.”
Cotto: “I don’t have any respect for him. And I’m going to take advantage of his eye like he took advantage of the plaster.”
Margarito: “Fuck Cotto (or “Cotto can go to hell, depending on how you translate it). If he thinks that I had plaster, it will hurt like I was using plaster. And he will know it.”
It is safe to say that these guys hate each other. And we have potentially the biggest blood war on our hands this Saturday.
I really think this one will be a slaughter house floor for however long it lasts.
If I was betting, I would bet on the underdog. This fight is razor close on paper.
I typically don’t pick sides in boxing matches, I usually just root for what is best for Boxing.
However in this one, you have to want Cotto to get revenge and redemption.
And I guess that would be the best outcome for Boxing as well.
So f*ck it, he is my (first time) biased prediction:
Cotto by bloody and brutal, close Unanimous Decision.
Pacquiao as an asserted favorite to retain his welterweight title. Currently, he has been installed as a -800 favorite to win. Clottey assumes the underdog role, going off at +500.
Don’t think this one is going to be easy for Pac Man. Fighters from Ghana are legit. Check out Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey for the data sheets.
In fact, I think Clottey has a pretty good shot a winning this fight. His size, defense, chin, strength and toughness are going to give Pacquiao fits. It is still pretty difficult to envision Pac Man losing with the roll he is on. A roll not seen since Mike Tyson was steamrolling pre-Buster Douglas. And I don’t mean E-tabs either.
That being said, Clottey will need a knockout. There is no shot he will get a decision in this one with Manny Pacquiao VS Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the horizon.
G Manifesto Hall of Fame member, Angelo Dundee on:
On what it was like working with Muhammad Ali:
“It was like going to a party every other day. It just was a tease, like I’ll give you a little insight. Everybody says Drew Brown. Drew Brown had met Muhammad in New York and then Muhammad comes back from New York and he’s training for a fight. He says, ‘Ang’—he’s training for the (Sonny) Liston fight—he says, ‘Ang, I’m bringing Drew Brown down here.’ I said, ‘What for?’. He said, ‘He makes me laugh.’ I said, ‘Okay!’”
Regarding his thoughts before Ali’s first fight with Sonny Liston:
“Muhammad felt that he was going to a party. Every fight was like that. Nothing ever bothered him. He wasn’t concerned about the guy. I kept telling Muhammad, ‘you’re bigger than this guy’, because people don’t realize Muhammad went from 182 to 212 pounds. He got bigger, he was a young kid. So when he got in the ring, I told him, ‘When you get in the middle of the ring, stand tall—and look down on the guy’. And Muhammad did exactly that and said, ‘I got you sucker.’, and this was the beginning of the fight.”
Regarding Ali’s victory over George Foreman:
“Well you know, when I heard I was going to be on your program—On the Ropes—I said to myself they’re going to ask me about the ropes in Zaire. (laughs) And I’m going to tell you, I tightened those stinking ropes at four o’clock in the afternoon but the fight wasn’t until 4am the next day. And you know what happened—the heat stretched the ropes. They were brand new hemp ropes. I didn’t want those ropes to be loose. People try to say that I designed the’ rope-a-dope’. I thought Muhammad was a dope to be on the ropes. If Foreman hit him with a forearm he would have went through the ropes. That ring was like six feet up in the air—he would have broke his back, the fight would have been all over but thank God it didn’t happen. He was so agile, and so quick, and so smart—he really did some good stuff.”
On whether Ali really asked him to stop the fight after the 14th round of the Thrilla in Manila:
“Muhammad always had a knack to suck it up. He came back to the corner and that documentary was a bunch of bologna because he came back to the corner and I said, ‘You got him baby! Get him out of there!’ This is the round they claimed I said he wanted it stopped. No, there was never any stop in Muhammad. I had to stop him that one time and it broke my heart to do it, but Muhammad wasn’t firing back. Muhammad always sucked something up; he had a knack of bringing it out and taking it to get the best of the other guy.”
On how he first started training Sugar Ray Leonard:
“The Olympic team was in New York and we were there, and Muhammad was around and he told Ray, ‘Hey! You want a good trainer? Get Angelo.’ That helped, but then when the group in Washington took him over they asked me if I would like to handle the kid. I told them I’d love to, and I got involved with Ray and he got out of the Olympics. I got along great with Ray. Then when we went to places like Providence and Boston, I made him an honorary Italian. (laughs) Hey listen! I showed him the proper way to twist spaghetti with a fork without using a spoon.”
Regarding the famous words he said to Leonard in between rounds during the Tommy Hearns fight—“You’re blowing it son”
“Boy, were those camera guys nice to me. They didn’t tape what I told him before ‘You’re blowing it kid’. (laughs) ‘You dumb, sorry you, what are you slowing down for, what are you doing, you’re fighting the guy’s fight’. Then when I was getting out of the ropes, I said ‘You’re blowing it kid’. Thank God they taped that.”
Regarding the current boxing landscape:
“I think Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather will fight. I know the fans want to see that fight and if they have any kind of sense of humanity about it, either fighter, they should fight each other—just for the good of boxing. You know what? I want to go see that fight, that’s going to be a great fight. But you never know with fights. Pacquiao’s fighting (Joshua) Clottey. Clottey is a tough guy. You never know one night which fighter is going to win and it’s interesting because it’s one-on-one and to me it’s a kick to watch these guys. And I want to thank you guys for having me on the radio, because as long as you guys are talking that means we’re in action.”