Miguel Cotto - Master of Emotions

Miguel CottoBy Nicholas Dash: The mind presents the greatest challenge to be overcome in pursuit of success. One can imagine the images and following thoughts of trepidation Miguel Cotto's mind may have conjured up in preparation for this night. Knowing that imagined failure would be experienced almost as if it were real, the strategy for coping with doubt would be executed continuously from the moment he first heard the word "rematch".

The fight was a personal proposition, this was not business, so remaining composed required more than simply a professional approach. Cotto had to utilize enough emotion to be supremely focused whilst remaining aware of himself and the dangers of being consumed by the urgency of impulsive emotions like anger in the quest for vengeance. A task made harder by the incompatibility of rationale and strong emotion and the shared pain felt by his family. Yet, Cotto succeeded.

Unlike the first encounter, Miguel often turned Antonio Margarito with a tight pivot, burying his head on his opponents chest where leverage for punches favoured the Puerto Rican. Still, he would typically wait for his opponent to offload first from the disadvantaged position he had placed him in, before exploiting him. Cotto was more economical with his punches, while forcefully removing any possibility for fear to emerge through engaging in vicious exchanges where balance, accuracy and sharpness favoured Cotto. He repeatedly pushed the Mexican fighter around the ring, keeping him off balance with the aid of his lower centre of gravity and a considerable physical presence. Cotto's conditioning was phenomenal, physically answering the questioning of the commentators as to whether he could sustain the output he had initiated, by skipping around the ring throughout the contest. In the middle of the fight Cotto worryingly abandoned his jab as Margarito began to close the distance, flashbacks were abated as Cotto demonstrated a comfort in close quarter combat.

Having cut Margarito's eye in the 3rd round with a raking thumb jabbed in to the eye of Margarito, Cotto targeted the eye with prejudicial precision. The eye responded to the attention it was receiving by swelling in a manor that suggested some residual damage from the torture session conducted by Pacquiao last November, and it would eventually cause the stoppage of this fight.

Margarito's pressure and body attack were evident, although Cotto deflected a significant amount of strikes with a disciplined defence. Overwhelmingly, Cotto's superior strategy, tactics, technical ability and speed in conjunction with Margarito's predictability and inability to cut off the ring were the decisive variables in this showdown. Margarito was staggered on occasion in punishment for his punches rarely being delivered on time, Cotto's effective circling towards the damaged right eye and subsequent combination punching made the possibility of a late stoppage, minus medical intervention, appear probable.

After the fight, Cotto's heart was displayed publicly in a paradoxically intensely personal moment. He stood in the centre of the ring, king of his domain, emotion rippling over his barely wounded facial features. Staring at Margarito, he communicated the emotion which had been absent throughout the clash. We were witnessing a truly cathartic process. Miguel Cotto, triumphant in mind, body and soul.

Article posted on 04.12.2011

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