by Andrew Gibson: Its has become a rarity in the sport where we find ourselves salivating like a pack of hungry wolves in anticipation of what should be the epic event of modern day history. For most, there’s not just one or two things about this contest that has fans worked into a rabid frenzy, but layers of special circumstances that not only separates the 147bl.. Welterweight division from all others, but also the two combatants with contrasting styles, life experiences and personalities that soundly defines who they are as fighters and as men.
Antonio “Tony” Margarito , IBF current reigning welterweight champion (36-26-5) 30 years of age fighting out of Tijuana Mexico, started to open eyes with his dominating and brutal performance over Six Heads Lewis. Stopping the strong ex-champion in round two after a slow start cost him the 1st. Tony would smile through an early barrage only to leave Lewis helplessly dangling in the ropes as the ref waved the bout off. Other notable wins would include a unanimous decision over tough Joshua Clottey and two knockout victories over formerly unbeaten Kermit Cintron. Though the big names of the division has chosen a safer path to welterweight prominence e.g. Mayweather Jr. Sugar Shane Mosley. Margarito has finally found himself in the position for which he has labored his entire career. Considering that the welterweight division remains the deepest and most exciting in the sport, it is entirely conceivable that a win over Miguel Cotto, would thrust Antonio into superstardom and catapult him firmly atop the world of boxing. Despite Margarito’s own 147bl. Dominance, Cotto is the undeniable new face and power of the division until otherwise is proven.
Miguel “Junito” Cotto, WBA current reigning champion (32-26-0) 27 years of age and fighting out of Caguas Puerto Rico, has quickly become the darling of the division with a hard fought stoppage over former welterweight king Zab Judah and a solid display of pure intelligence, versatility and technique against ex-pound for pound boss and sure hall of fame bound Sugar Shane Mosely. Cotto’s consistent dominance over high caliber competition e.g. Torres, Quintana, Malignaggi, Maussa, including avenging beatdowns over hard hitting Kelson Pinto, and Muhammad Abdulaev, has made Miguel must see tv whenever he is scheduled to perform.
Strengths, Margarito: chin, conditioning, size, strength, stamina, heat, heart, experience, thirst and determination. Weaknesses: slow starter, defensive lapses and flat footed…Interesting fact: The only reported knockdown of Tony’s pro career, came at the hands of Danny Perez (31-17-5) in round one of an eight round bout. Margarito would rise from the canvas to accept a split decision win over his Californian counterpart. Perez would go on to win the vacant NABF welterweight title via 2nd round knockout of Sam Garr (30-3-0).
The two would meet 3 years later where Tony would leave no doubt as to who was the superior pugilist earning a 12 round unanimous decision.
Strengths, Cotto: excellent movement, technique, adaptability, strength, power, poise, pressure, resilience, versatility and intelligence. Weaknesses: defensive lapses and forward leaning approach. Interesting fact: Cotto would drop a points decision loss to current light flyweight boss “Iron Boy” Calderon (31-06-0) back in the amateurs. (It would certainly be interesting to see how the two would match up today, if Ivan could compete at 147bls.)
So, if backed into a corner with a gun raised to my head, I’d have to go with Miguel Cotto to come away with the win in the end. I believe the key to Tony’s pressure and strength will be Cotto’s adaptability, versatility and the intelligence to know when and how to employ these strengths. However, I must say, that with all the talk and debate concerning the pros and cons of each fighter and who will likely prevail, the most intelligent response I’ve heard thus far is simply “I don’t know”.
So, with that said, let’s get back to the title. Whenever there’s a casual, generic or boxing after dark event e.g. (for me) De La Hoya, vs Money, Wlad vs. Peter, Torres vs. Holt or even Pac vs whomever, I tend to gravitate to a more open setting, featuring: multiple big screens, loud music, hot naked women and a crowd more interested in who’s dancing on stage rather than what’s taking place inside the ring. This has its place. However, whenever an event of this significance is on tap. It requires a much more intimate setting with close family members and good longtime friends. So here’s my Saturday 26th itinerary: Sleep in till 10:00 am. (Sweet dreams of the big fight) Big breakfast with the lovely Jennifer, featuring cream chipped beef and scrambled eggs. (While discussing the big fight) 12:00- 1:00pm weights and treadmill (thinking about how hard each fighter has trained in preparation) 2:00-3:00pm ask honey to make her world famous potato salad while I get started on my world famous BBQ ribs. 5:00-7:00pm, quick nap. 7:30 saddle up and head over to little sis’s in Fort Meade Md. Where we will be meeting a host of others for pre-fight festivities featuring: huge Maryland crabs, brats, brother-in law’s world famous smoked catfish dip, burgers and ribs. Beverages are sure to include: (the hard stuff) Patron, Grey Goose, Brandy, (beer) Grolsh, St. Puali Girl and Warsteiner.
So, I ask you, ESB. How Do “You” Do It?