There are quite a few angles that you can play with to highlight the Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito fight this Saturday in New York. Above all, it seems, is Cotto’s need and urge to avenge that severe beating he took three years ago, to prove Margarito a cheater, and a disgrace.
Miguel Cotto came into the first Cotto – Margarito fight undefeated, after four successful defenses of his WBA Welterweight title. He came out of that fight changed, banged up, a different fighter. You are willing to die in the ring? For what? I have 4 kids, a beautiful family. It’s just my job, that’s what it’s about. Why am I going expose my life, my health, for what? For the fans? for the people? I have my health, my kids, my family. Who is going to take care of them? No one, just me.
Cotto went on to win the WBO Welterweight title and get banged up again, losing his belt to Manny Pacquiao two years ago. Since then, it’s been Light Middleweight for the Puerto Rican, beating Yuri Foreman in 2010 and Ricardo Mayorga nearly nine months ago. The time between fights and the difference in approaches in the ring since his two losses are clear. Cotto is a different fighter. Still dangerous, but the speed and ferocity are gone.
Margarito has fought only three times since that day, a win that sent him into boxing superstardom, something that very quickly turned into notoriety. The tampered hand-wraps with plaster in them changed everything. He still fought Mosley, but got beaten. His lost his boxing license in California and lost to Manny Pacquiao a year ago. A defeat that almost finished his boxing career, with his eye apparently still damaged from that fight.
For Cotto, it’s clear he hates Margarito. Even a bit afraid. Even if he knows and believes that Margarito cheated in their fight as well, I’m pretty sure the memory of the punches he took in that bloody fight remain with him to this day. Margarito? He still claims he knew nothing, did nothing wrong. Cotto still walks around with a picture showing red substance on the pads of Margarito as he was celebrating the win over Cotto.
The same red substance that was on the confiscated pads the night he fought Mosley. Proof, Cotto and other believe, that Margarito’s 2008 win was far from Kosher. Margarito claims it was just blood, which was pouring in gallons from Cotto’s face that night. Bad blood seems to be THE tagline for this fight.
There was no love in the pre fight press conference. Margarito took the first shots, Cotto Followed. Here comes the criminal! Open the doors to the criminal!” shouted Margarito. I’ve been called a criminal by the man next to me. I don’t know why? I don’t beat up my family. He can hit my eye as much as he wants. He hits like a little girl. Super flyweights hit harder. He will never beat me. I know Cotto thinks he has a big advantage having the fight here. That’s his security blanket. This was one of my best preparations for a fight. I’m in great condition. This camp was different from the one I had before our last fight. The high altitude conditioning has made me stronger. When he feels my first punch he’s going to be in real problems. I know Cotto’s style and his style is perfect for me. He stands in front of me. I am a pressure-style fighter. That’s what I do best and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday.
Margarito cockiness and demeanor, to those who believe in him being guilty of cheating more than once throughout his career is enraging to watch. Cotto, obviously not lacking in hate for the Mexican fighter, kept a calm but serious demeanor – If you don’t know what a criminal means, you can look it up in the dictionary. I showed you a picture of them. You are like a child. You are an embarrassment to boxing. I am going to slap you like a little girl.
The PPV numbers will pass the 500k viewers. The Madison Square Garden will be sold out. For two fighters past their prime, the buzz is certainly strong. Bad blood, and that revenge word again, make boxing fans hungry.