Margarito and Cotto (and Paul Williams)

antonio margarito25.01.07 – By Adrian Saba: After several weeks, being between the sword and the wall, Antonio Margarito surprised everyone (and pleased his detractors) when it was announced that he will vacate the WBO Welterweight belt that he won five years ago. He has decided to vacate his belt instead of facing challenger Paul Williams. The reason is obvious: He doesn’t want to risk, he doesn’t want to lose that bout, and, at the same time, he doesn’t want to risk his potential superbattle against Miguel Cotto in June. For a sector of fans, he is now the one who ducks, instead of the one who is ducked. It is interesting, however, to see that Cotto indeed has decided to be on a fight before facing Margarito. That fight will be against Oktay Urkal (33-4-2, Top10 ranked contender) on March 3rd.

Weeks ago, Margarito came out victorious from his fight against Joshua Clottey (also Top10 ranked contender by The Ring), nevertheless, it was a difficult fight for him, and many fans thought that he lost it. In my scorecard, Margarito was the winner, but it was a close contest.

Let’s remember that, before the fight, the boxer from Tijuana, Mexico, a professional fighter since 1994, and with a record of 34-4, was perceived as the Welterweight that was being ducked by the World Champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr.. Why? That was because of his power, durability, resistance, his heart, workrate and height. After the encounter against Clottey, a group of afficionados started to doubt about Margarito’s true potential and skill. After that bout, many fans came out with one cardinal conclusion: Tony is not the boxer that everyone thought he was and it would be extremely hard for him to defeat Mayweather.

At the same time, Miguel Angel Cotto (28-0), the fearless swarmer from Caguas, Puerto Rico, went up into the Welterweight class, after six years at the 140-pounds’ division. He fought the undefeated Carlos Quintana (now 23-1), and made him retire in the fifth round. As it was expected, Cotto recieved ovations like never before, and we can start to say that he has reached his peak. Soon after that, there were talks about a combat between Margarito and Cotto, that would have unified that WBA and WBO Welterweight belts. Apparently, if everything goes well, it will take place on the 9th of June, and Cotto has decided to take a risk and also fight Oktay Urkal. Margarito could have risked is a similar way, but he didn’t. And he has taken a wise choice, because the adventure of fighting Paul Williams (who destroyed Sharmba Mitchell in four rounds and TKOed Santos Pakau in six) is more hazardous than the one of fighting Urkal. Cotto, of course, is showing an applaudable attitude.

The WBO Welterweight rankings show Paul Williams as their #1 contender. As #2 and #3 you have Sugar Shane Mosley and Luis Collazo. For the vacant belt: ¿Williams against Collazo/Mosley winner? Who wouldn’t like that? Meanwhile, let’s hope that Urkal doesn’t upset Cotto. I want to enjoy Margarito-Cotto in June. And let’s hope that Mayweather won’t retire, so we can see him fighting one of those warriors in the future.

Article posted on 25.01.2007

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