There will always be an unofficial asterisk attached to the result that still stands: Antonio Margarito TKO11 Miguel Cotto. Fight fans of course know all about the hand wraps controversy Mexican warrior Margarito is these days best known for. Fans know how, prior to his fight with Sugar Shane Mosley, Margarito was found to have loaded wraps. Margarito, who took a fearful hammering from an on-fire Mosley, was then banned from boxing for a year.
The floodgates now well and truly opened, people took a closer second look at some of Margarito’s earlier fights. Had the man now dubbed “Margacheato” used doctored wraps before? Miguel Cotto sure thinks so, in the fight he and Margarito engaged in on July 26th of 2008. It’s now been 15 long years, yet the controversy, the tainted nature of Margarito’s biggest career win hasn’t gone anywhere.
Fans witnessed a great fight in Las Vegas. Cotto, unbeaten at 32-0 and the reigning and defending WBA welterweight champ, was recognised as one of the best fighters in the world, with the Puerto Rican also one of the most popular. Margarito had suffered a decision loss to Paul Williams, this the year before, and the Mexican was already somewhat grizzled and battle-worn. Margarito, 36-5, had ruled as WBO welterweight champ from March of 2002 until the Williams loss, and while “Tony” had bounced back with a repeat KO win over Kermit Cintron to win the IBF title, he was a big underdog going into the Cotto fight, with the experts feeling Margarito had had his best days
But Margarito, always a slow starter, overcame the early deficit as he slowly wore Cotto down, eventually dishing out a beating, one that saw Cotto’s features become badly disfigured. Margarito, who also attacked Cotto’s body, took over in the second half of the fight, with the older man by two years hurting Cotto in the seventh and tenth rounds, and then knocking Cotto down two times in round 11, this forcing Cotto’s uncle and trainer, Evangelista Cotto, to stop the fight.
Fans were left in a dizzied state, the fight going on to win FOTY acclaim by many.
But did Margarito win cleanly, honestly, fairly? We will never know, but plenty of people will forever believe Cotto was the victim of loaded wraps, the way Shane Mosley would have been had it not been for the keen eye of Naazim Richardson.
Cotto did get his revenge over Margarito, however, this in December of 2011, with Cotto giving a faded Margarito a fearful hiding over the course of the nine one-sided sessions the rematch lasted.