What is a “Chump”?

By Samuel Rivera - I respectfully write this article in response to a recent ESB article written by Mr. Ralph Rimpell, in which he called Cotto a “chump” and Margarito the “biggest thing”. What is the definition of a “chump” I ask? The opposite of a champion I assume a loser maybe? Then if that is the definition of a “chump” Miguel Cotto who only has one loss in his record is anything but a “chump”..

There is some truth to Mr. Rimpell’s article, yes Margarito had a rougher time on his way to the top, than Cotto did. This is because Miguel had a stellar amateur career, and thus had Top Rank signed him right out of the Olympics, I don’t think this makes Miguel a “Chump” in my book.

Margarito on the other hand turned pro in Mexico as a teenager, and had to earn his way the way Felix Trinidad did, by fighting whichever opponent he could find on his way to the championship (In part as he would be signed by Top Rank himself eventually).

Cotto wasn’t babied as a prospect, he was moved along at an excellent pace, at 140 Arum wanted a fight with Ricky Hatton, but Warren wasn’t in a rush to throw in his cash cow against Cotto, so the fight never happened, but it wasn’t either Hatton’s or Cotto’s fault, it was a matter of the fight not making sense at the time for Warren, this does not make Cotto or Hatton for that matter a “Chump”.

Cotto fought some excellent fighters at 140, including Ricardo Torres and Paulie Malignaggi both, who went on to win world titles after the losing to Cotto. Taking their “0” and handing them their first loss, does not make Cotto a “Chump”.

Cotto moved up in weight and took on a then undefeated Carlos Quintana, after taking him out with a hellacious body shot and the mandatory follow up barrage of punches, he claimed the WBA strap for himself. As later Quintana would prove in beating Margarito’s most recent conqueror Paul Williams, Quintana was a world class fighter regardless of the 1st round KO he suffered in the rematch at the hands of the afore mentioned Williams, so beating on Quintana does not make Cotto a “Chump”.

Cotto then had an excellent welter weight run, defeating fighters like Judah, Urkal, and Mosley (fighters that were ranked in the top ten by the Ring magazine, and say what you will about their ratings, most fighters in their top ten are there because of their accomplishments). Defeating those guys cemented his claim as one of the top three guys in the division along with Mayweather and Margarito. That welter weight run doesn’t make Cotto a “Chump”.

So Mayweather retires (or so he says) so what’s left? Cotto a like a true Champion decides to face the only other man on the division with a championship claim (aside from Williams who was busy with Quintana on their rematch) and that man was none other than Margarito. So facing one of the most avoided fighters in recent memory in Margarito instead of sitting around on his spotless record does not make Cotto a “Chump”.

So he goes into the fight with Margarito, and puts his title and his “0” on the line, he impressively wins the first half of the fight by ripping Margarito’s head with blistering combinations, much more impressively than anyone has ever done against Antonio. But alas he was winning the battle while losing the war.

Whether due to his rumored poor life style, the body shots or the constant pace set by Margarito in which Cotto was having to fight every second of each round, (or a combination of everything) Miguel runs out of gas, and is staggered in the 7th by a body shot, and from there his performance goes downhill until that fateful round 11th where he was taking uppercuts and all kinds of shots and did no longer had any energy to put up much of a fight.

Cotto, a smart fighter realized that he wasn’t going to beat Margarito that night, and instead was going to take an unnecessary amount of punishment that could possibly shorten his career, so he took a knee and gracefully bowed out of the fight. He would leave that fight with his brains intact, in order to fight another day. Losing a competitive fight against the best next welter weight does not make Cotto a “Chump”.

Cotto right after the bout decides he wants an immediate rematch, but Top Rank (in a wise decision) decides that Cotto should fight a presumably easier fight for his comeback with Michael Jennings, that fight being for the vacant WBO title that Williams vacated. However win or lose he has a fight scheduled with Margarito in the summer. Wanting revenge on his only conqueror does not make Cotto a “Chump”.

Calling Cotto a “Chump” only demeans Margarito’s victory over him, I think anyone that has ever laced up boxing gloves on can tell you that no one who steps through those ropes and fights as bravely and as skillfully as Miguel Cotto has fought in all of his fights is a “Chump”. Whether he can defeat Antonio Margarito on the rematch or not is a topic for another article, while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I can say respectfully to Mr. Rimpell that Miguel Cotto is not a “Chump” he is a real fighter, and as far as fighters go today he is a great one just like Margarito.

As for whether he is great historically we would have to wait until his career is over before deciding where he will stand amongst the immortals of the sport. But winning two world titles since turning pro and sporting a (32-1, 26 KOs) record doesn’t make Cotto a “Chump” it makes him a Former two time World “CHAMP”.

Article posted on 14.01.2009

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