By P.H. Burbridge: Fight fans canít wait to see Miguel Cotto face off against Antonio Margarito. This is the most intriguing match up out there and there is no other fight that has the potential to generate more fireworks. Itís one of those canít miss events in our sport where fans are actually rewarded for their dedication and for enduring so many ďpound for poundĒ fighters making excuses as to why they wonít face the best competition out there..
If you listen to some of these guys it never makes ďmoney senseĒ to face this fighter or to face that fighter. It only makes sense when they can get in there with the lightest or oldest most recognizable name who represents the least amount of risk for the most amounts of cash. Now I understand the economics of the fight game and I donít fault fighters for getting paid after all theyíre the ones who are putting their lives on the line not us. They have to live with their decisions and I donít need to tell this group that the risks are real. It can be a dangerous and sometime fatal endeavor. But, if youíre a top tier prize fighter once in a while you have to give us a real fight where you remind us of why youíre rich and why we still have to get up and go to work on Monday.
You MUST fight and defeat the best fighters in your weight class as well as the other recognized champions to claim supremacy! You must always be defending your title or working towards unifying titles and silencing the #1 and #2 contenders. If you donít want to do that then donít claim youíre the best. Itís as simple as that. Thatís how fans keep score.
Well, thatís what this fight is all about for Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. This is validation for real fight fans that there are still FIGHTERS who truly want to prove their greatness in the ring by meeting the best competition available and not spend their time posturing in the press. Great fighters sign to fight other great fighters. They are willing to enter the ring to PROVE theyíre the best. For all the advances in marketing and promotions nothing gets fight fans going more then an actual fight between world class fighters. Iím Mexican-American but as a fan the Mexico vs Puerto Rico aspect of this fight doesnít mean anything to me because Iíd want to see these two fight if they weíre both from Mars.
Credit to Cotto and Margarito for making this match. Itís the only fight that makes sense for the fans and it has all the required elements to be a blockbuster!
But, it could turn into a rough and ugly fight with both fighters being warned numerous times and maybe a point deduction controversy as well. The one most in jeopardy of this is Margarito because of his swarming style.
Theyíre both capable of it. I donít label either one as a dirty fighter but I do think anyone whoís seen them fight would agree that they can be border line.
Cotto can use a well placed low blow from time to time as well as his head in clinches to even things out and Margarito has a tendency to rabbit punch and bring his elbows into the mix when the going gets tough. Even though it hasnít been discussed all that much I think the rough tactics will tell the story of this fight.
This fight will be less about Cottoís boxing ability and more about how aggressive the referee will allow Margarito to be. The referee will be the key in this fight. The style of the referee will be just as important as the style of each combatant. In Cottoís fight plan he does not want the rough stuff. He wants a controlled distance that allows him the ability to land his left hook to the body and then jab his way out. He needs a measured pace where his superior ring generalship will dictate the action and Margarito wants exactly the opposite. Margarito wants chaos and needs an in close brawl where he can use his unorthodox punching angles to overwhelm Cotto with a constant barrage of punches. Heís going to hit arms, shoulders and the back of Cottoís head. Margarito has a high punch output and I think this fight will be a showcase for that aspect of his game. I donít think his accuracy will rise above 30-35% but I do think the sheer volume and power will be telling. I know a lot of writers are pointing to Cottoís wins over Zab Judah and Shane Mosely as evidence of his superior boxing technique as well as his ability to adapt but I really donít think those fights tell us much about how heíll perform against Margarito. Margarito is very different type of fighter and is capable of bringing intense and constant pressure in a manner unlike any fighter Cotto has previously faced. This will be culture shock for Cotto because he is typically the one expected to walk down his guy not the other way around. Of course in the Judah and Mosely fight he did show some versatility in mixing up his approach. He had to. But, clearly his comfort level is being the pursuer not the pursued. Weíve seen him do it in spots but can he do it for an entire fight? Thatís the big question and even if he can will it matter?
One thing that simply cannot be ignored is the question of Cottoís chin. His chin has threatened to derail his career a few times against 2nd tier competition and I donít believe struggling to make the 140 weight limit was the main contributor to his struggles. I think the main contributor was simply his chin. He has done a masterful job in recent bouts of protecting it but in his bouts with Judah and Mosely he was hurt and it showed. I donít like the odds for him if he is forced to try and survive if Margarito getís him hurt. Margarito is a finisher and his longer arms are going to make it difficult for Cotto to reach out and hold onto him if heís in trouble. Cotto did not react well in his fight with Ricardo Toress and Demarcus Corely when he was stunned. Placed in a similar situation with Margarito could spell doom. On the flip side, has anyone ever seen Margarito hurt or stunned? Every indication is that Antonio Margarito has a major league chin.
Thereís no question that Cotto has more tools in his tool box then Margarito. He does everything well and his body attack is one of the best if not the best in the game today but I do think size matters in this bout. Margarito looks more like a middleweight and Cotto looks more like a Jr welterweight / welterweight. Margarito has the frame to carry 160 and I canít see Cotto at 154. Thatís clearly the reason so many top tier welterweights have chosen to avoid Margarito. The only other welterweight who seemed anxious to get into the ring with him was Paul Williams who he himself is a big welterweight (6í1Ē) who Iím sure will one day compete in the middleweight division. I just donít see Cotto hurting Margarito and I donít think he throws enough punches to keep pace plus in all likelihood he will incur a significant abrasion, swelling or cut to his face either legally or illegally. Cotto was bleeding quite a bit in a fight he won handily against Zab Judah.
In my opinion, all this translates to a loss for Miguel Cotto and the emergence of Antonio Margarito as the best welterweight in the world. This is a difficult conclusion for me to draw because I have long been a fan of Miguel Cotto not only for his exciting performances in the ring but because of the type of representative he appears to be outside of it. I truly believe that he fears no man and that he believes 100% in his ability to win this fight. Heís a champion and tries to give his fans what they want and thatís a great credit to him. This is just the wrong fighter at the wrong time. Margarito is dangerous pure and simple. He doesnít care how he wins and he can afford to be reckless because he knows that he canít be hurt by a welterweight even one as great as Miguel Cotto.
I see Antonio Margarito stopping Miguel Cotto somewhere around the 9th or 10th round and it may take the referee or Cottoís corner to intervene because I donít think Miguel Cotto will ever stop trying.