Cotto-Margarito II: A Genuine Grudge-Match!

Miguel CottoBy James Slater: We’ve all seen fighters ‘pretend’ to have an intense dislike of their opponent, quite often in an effort to sell tickets and nothing more. We’ve seen fighters refuse to shake hands at any other time pre-fight than at the final face-to-face in the middle of the ring, we’ve heard rival fighters threaten to kill one another, and we’ve seen boxers having to be separated at press conferences. However, most of the time, after the fight, the two “make up” and shake hands and even hug.

I do not think we will be seeing such a sight on Saturday night in New York; now matter who has emerged the winner of the fascinating, currently simmering Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch. Quite simply, these two have an utterly genuine dislike, even hatred, for each other. Both men had plenty of nasty words for each other at yesterday’s final press conference, and the poison the two warriors have a need to rid themselves of promises a quite savage battle.

31-year-old Cotto, who insists (as do many other people) that Margarito used loaded gloves when he upset him by 11th-round stoppage back in 2008, has called the Mexican “a criminal,” and he has vowed to make him pay for cheating and putting his life at risk by fighting with illegally wrapped hands. Cotto, in light of the damage Margarito’s eye took in his losing fight with Manny Pacquiao, has vowed to “play with his health as he played with mine” - meaning the Puerto Rican will have no qualms targeting the eye of his rival.

33-year-old Margarito, 38-7(27) fired back yesterday, saying Cotto can “hit my eye as much as he likes. He hits like a little girl. Super-flyweights hit harder.” Margarito also warned that Cotto “will be in real problems when he feels my first punch.” Declaring how Cotto’s style is made for him, “Tony” has predicted another stoppage win.

Not to be outdone, Cotto, who rarely loses his cool, promised he will “slap Margarito like a little girl.”

Labelling the first man to have beaten his as “an embarrassment to boxing,” Cotto, 36-2(29) again referred to the loaded gloves issue:

“If you don’t know what a criminal is, you can look it up in the dictionary,” Cotto said in response to Margarito’s failure to understand why his rival called him such a thing. “It is someone who uses a weapon. We spoke about the wraps on Face-Off. I showed you a picture of them.”

Cotto is convinced Margarito used loaded gloves and that he will not be able to beat him without them. Margarito says Cotto will “never beat me.” Either way we are going to see a brutal fight the day after tomorrow - one that will live up to all the hype.

Not since Roberto Duran and Iran Barkley were approaching their classic 1989 encounter have two fighters had such a genuine dislike for one another. Those two gladiators shook hands after their 12 unforgettable rounds. Don’t bet on Cotto and Margarito doing the same thing on December 3rd!

(the fight has now completely sold out, proving to be one of the biggest non-heavyweight fights held at Madison Square Garden)

Article posted on 01.12.2011

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