Three years, six pounds, some major controversy, and two hellacious beatdowns by an angry Filipino wrecking ball later, it’s time for the rematch.
WBA Super Light Middleweight Champion Miguel Cotto and former WBO, IBF, and WBA Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito will step into the ring TONIGHT (Sat., Dec. 3, 2011) in Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., to put the controversy of their first bout behind them and prove once and for all who the superior fighter is.
MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the pay-per-view (PPV) event later this evening, which also features lightweight firebrands Brandon Rios and John Murray in addition to a rematch of one of 2011’s finest fights between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez.
Join us after the jump for a preview of the main event of the rematch between Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito, which is certain to be heated back-and-forth barnburner.
In we go:
Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO)
Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto was positively on fire when he stepped into the ring in Nov. 2008 to defend his WBA title against Margarito. Unbeaten, Cotto’s record included impressive beatdowns of former champions Randall Bailey, Zab Judah and Carlos Quintana. So dominant was he, in fact, that only two of his previous 12 opponents had made it the distance against him.
Everything started going wrong sometime in the seventh round of that fight.
After taking a beating in the early going, the Mexican bruiser roared back, relentlessly battering and pressuring Cotto in the late rounds until the unbeaten champion fell to his knees and the bout was waved off.
While Cotto managed to pick up the WBO welterweight title with wins over Michael Jennings and Ghana’s Joshua Clottey, he never got a chance to regain momentum, as the tornado of violence known as Manny Pacquiao beat him down over the course of 12 rounds, securing a stoppage victory a minute into the final round.
Following this defeat, Cotto moved up to welterweight, scoring less-than-stellar wins over a badly injured Yuri Foreman and a long-since-shot Ricardo Mayorga. He will need a dominant performance if he wants to prove that the overpowering monster who ruled the welterweights didn’t die that November night at the MGM Grand Garden.
Antonio Margarito (38-7-0, 1 NC)
Things were going pretty darn well for Antonio Margarito after stopping Cotto. Not only was he the WBA champ, but he was only once-beaten at 147 in the previous 12 years. Kermit Cintrón had twice found himself unable to resist the overwhelming force of Margarito, and Argentina’s Sergio Martinez’s sole black mark on his record was courtesy of the hard-hitting Mexican.
As falls go, however, Margarito’s may be up there with the most spectacular.
Just before his fight with Shane Mosley, who was thought to be long past his contender days, Mosley’s trainer noticed an odd substance on Margarito’s handwraps, which were later determined to be akin to plaster of Paris. After being forced to actually fight fair, Margarito was annihilated in nine rounds, suffering the first stoppage loss of his career.
Things only got worse from there.
Margarito was suspended from boxing for a year, and after defeating professional nobody Roberto Garcia, was paired up with Manny Pacquiao. Despite possessing an incredible 17-pound advantage on fight night, not to mention a ridiculous height and reach advantage, Margarito endured one of the most savagely one-sided beatings in recent memory, with Pacquiao badly damaging both his eyes and even laying off the gas in the end out of mercy.
The resultant injuries, particularly the battered right eye, kept Margarito out of the game for another year and nearly for good. He has a lot of questions to answer Saturday night.
Prediction: Antonio Margarito is done. There is no other word for it.
The hallmark of a pressure fighter is the ability to induce despair in an opponent. Not only must he hurt the opponent, but he must force him to think, "I can’t stop this." A proper pressure fighter must be able to maintain a high punch output throughout the entire fight and shrug off all incoming damage, essentially becoming a perpetual pain machine until the opponent wilts.
Margarito can no longer accomplish this. The man is incredibly slow, and prone to getting hit with every single punch in a flurry. With his eye damaged and likely fragile, I have serious doubts as to whether he can exhibit the resilience needed to induce proper despair in Cotto.
That’s not to say Cotto doesn’t have questions of his own -- Mayorga was an opponent he should have disposed of with little difficulty, and Yuri Foreman lasted longer than a one-legged fighter should have against someone with the Puerto Rican’s speed and power. Not only that, but Cotto is fighting heavy ... his best weight was 147
That said, even though both fighters are nowhere near the beasts they were when they first met, Margarito has degraded further, and the controversy surrounding the Mosley fight raises questions about the legitimacy of his first victory. He hasn’t fought in a year, hasn’t beaten a credible opponent since Cotto, and is almost certainly damaged goods.
The fight should mirror the first early on, with Cotto landing solid flurries, only this time Margarito won’t survive long enough to mount a comeback and won’t have building material in his glove. Look for Steve Smoger to stop this one in the third or fourth after Margarito finds himself unable to avoid or withstand his opponent’s savage combos.
Be sure to check out our full breakdown of their spectacular first battle, "Cotto vs. Margarito 1 fight: Controversy mars back-and-forth 'battle' for the ages" right here. And definitely be sure to check back later this evening for for full LIVE coverage of the PPV event.
See you soon!