Cotto-Margarito: A Gift To Boxing, But Who Will Win?

By Joe Barrett - Within sections of the media, the fans and even the fighters themselves, we have long heard grumbles of the best fighters don’t fight the best, instead choosing to fight the opponent who offers the “least risk for the most reward”. However in the past few years this trend seems to have changed, with these two fighters at the forefront which has ultimately lead to them confronting each other in which is possibly the biggest fight in the game at the moment..

Make no mistake about it, come July 26th you will see two warriors enter the ring in the prime of their careers and leave the ring knowing they have gave every ounce of their body in search for victory. I cannot envisage any other scenario after the fight other than we talk about this battle in the same way as we reminisce about Marquez - Vazquez, Castillo - Corrales, Gatti - Ward and many others. The question is though, and it is a question that has got everyone talking, just who will emerge victorious?

Miguel “Junito” Cotto will enter the ring in MGM Grand, Las Vegas, as the slight favourite with the bookmakers and rightfully so. Miguel, who enters the ring with a 32-0 (26 KO’s) record, was long talked about as being a banger who threw the best left hook in the business, but in his fights against Zab Judah and Shane Mosley we witnessed Cotto evolve into a boxer with the complete package, out boxing the “naturals” at their own game. This is vitally important in this fight as you certainly need more than being able to bang to beat Margarito. One factor that certainly favours Cotto from these fights is that he is already comfortable headlining in the bright lights of major PPV cards. The worry that still hangs over the Puerto Rican’s head is how will his chin stand up to the Mexicans heavy hands and constant pressure. We have seen on several occasions how he has been rocked i.e. Mosley, Bailley and how he has had to come back from the absolute brink against the hard swinging Ricardo Torres. Should the man known as Tony get Miguel in this situation, we he really let him of the hook? In fairness to Cotto he has not ever been let of the hook, rather through sheer will power and determination he has pulled him self back into the fight by delivering his own shots. Cotto has certainly been the man who has cleaned up the higher tier of the Welterweight division in recent times, dispatching Urkal, Quintana, Judah and Mosley along the way, and many predict he will place Margarito at the end of that list come Saturday night. A Victory in this fight would go a long way to the testament of just how great Miguel Cotto really is.

Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito is the definition of warrior. This is a guy who does not have to tell his what his strategy will be come fight night as we all know he only knows one way to fight, and that is to come and fight. Margarito is a fighter who will not take a step backwards, he will bring constant pressure and is not afraid to get hit in order to land his own punches on his opponent. Entering the ring with a record of 36-5 (26 KO’s) many will look at the loss column and say this is a no brainer, but don’t let that record fool you. Forced into the ring at the age of 15 in order to provide for himself, three of Tony’s defeats came in his first ten fights when he was challenging opponents who were twice his age. Another of his losses came against Puerto Rican Daniel Santos, who won a technical decision as a result of Margarito receiving a nasty gash. The one time we have seen Margarito defeated without an excuse was against the freakishly huge Paul Williams. This was a tight fight in which Tony came out of the blocks slow and was not able to pull the points back later in the fight and fell to a points loss. Even though he can easily be lamented for his performance in this fight he should be credited for fighting the guy who was touted as the most avoided man in boxing. Looking at his victories, although maybe the names are not as great as those on Cotto’s resume, there is no shortage of credible victories including those over Antonio Diaz, Sebastian Lujan, Joshua Clottey and his two KO’s over the steel fisted Kermit Cintron, fights in which Margarito showed why he possibly has the best chin in the business. Considering Tony is a two time world champion and has given the fans some great fights along they way, the Mexican public has yet take to him they way they took to Barrera, Morales, Marquez etc. Win, lose or draw (and I know Marg will be very much thinking only about the win) this could be the fight that finally gives Antonio Margarito the credit he deserves.

In my opinion who wins this fight, I honestly do not know, it is a complete toss up and the coin could land on either side. These are two equally talented boxers in different ways, and even more so they are even greater men. These guys go about their business very respectfully. They don’t trash talk, they don’t harp on about money and most importantly they give the fans what they want to see. Early on Sunday morning, even though one of these boxers will have a blemish on their record, I doubt either set of fans will be largely disappointed because Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will have given a gift to boxing.

Article posted on 25.07.2008

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