Call 'Em Out Fridays: Margarito, Cotto, and Pacquiao - A Battle for 'Top Rank'?

Antonio MargaritoBy Vivek Wallace: The respective careers of Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto and Mexican Antonio Margarito took off at two different times and went two different paths, but after a bloody affair and a great deal of time to reflect, it appears the two are once again on a collision course.

Top Rank promoter, Bob Arum, stated a while back that if Filipino Manny Pacquiao failed in a second effort to come to terms with Floyd Mayweather jr., Antonio Margarito would be the likely candidate to land the job. This statement was solidified in a firm promotional effort to do a twin-bill card in the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium, featuring Pacquiao versus Clottey, with Antonio Margarito fighting on the undercard.

Strong pressure from disgruntled fight fans around the sport and adherence to state the licensing protocol kept Arum and the state of Texas' Athletic Commission from making the event possible. After a few more unsuccessful attempts, Arum was able to finally secure a fight for Margarito back in his native Mexico, bypassing the current licensing issue here in the U.S..

As that whole scenario unfolded, Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto sat quietly behind the scenes, analyzing his options as he recovered from a vicious beating at the hands of Manny Pacquaio in a fight that few expected him to lose in the fashion in which he did.

With the untimely passing of his Father, a legal matter pending, and an unresolved issue with his uncle and former trainer still not quite settled, it would appear at the time that the lives of both he (Cotto) and Margarito were a bit too scattered to piece together.....Or that was until Bob Arum looked at his options and the proverbial light-bulb lit up.

Fast-forward a few months, and with a victory now in Margarito's rear-view, combined with Miguel Cotto's recent effort to re-energize his own career, these two men seem once again destined for the same place. The operative question of interest is "which one of them will arrive there first"?

That one prime destination is a mega-event hosted by the sports co-P4P owner, Manny Pacquiao. Most observers feel Miguel Cotto never fully recovered from the beating he took at the hands of Margarito, and considering the one administered by Pacquiao wasn't much less of a thrashing, many would question how Cotto could conceivably come between a showdown with the only two men who were able to soundly defeat him.

Logic would say we should place those two men who defeated him in the same ring and let them hash things out. Where this logic goes astray is that in what may very well go down as Pacquiao's finale, the intent is to place himself in position to do something monumental. The best two possibilities for that would be a shot at Mayweather, or a shot at an unprecedented 8th world title in a record 8th weight division.

This logic only points in one direction, as Margarito not only has nothing monumental to offer, but reality tells us that he will also have a ton more obstacles to cover before he could be licensed to fight in the U.S. again.

Perhaps Pacquiao's recent trip to Mexico could not have come at a better time, as there is no better time to gauge the level of support from the locals. Another operative question would ponder whether or not the country (of Mexico) supports him enough to truly entertain a showdown against a native son who brought shame to the proud ring warriors of the past? Aside from the loaded glove wrap embarrassment, unconfirmed reports have Margarito's recent PPV doing a ridiculously low 15K PPV buys. If these reports are true, it will take far more than Manny Pacquiao to save such a card, and there will be nothing monumental about the looming showdown, even if he is victorious.

When you look at the three men involved, both Pacquiao and Margarito own defeats over Cotto, yet with mega-fight implications hanging in the balance, it appears that by default, Cotto is the one in position to seize the moment. For obvious reasons, Pacquiao would fancy a rematch with him, but with Arum calling the shots, one would be advised strongly to prepare themselves for ANYTHING!

With Mayweather non-flexible in his negotiation terms, it appears we're well on par for "a big battle at Top Rank"! The irony is that the smaller man of the group is the most dangerous, but due to unprecedented history hanging in the balance, one could support the belief that we'll never see that fight.

Despite losing the battle, Miguel Cotto may get his shot eventually win the war! Stay tuned.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 12.06.2010

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