Cotto vs. Margarito.
Posted July 26, 2008 - 12:44 PM
Posted July 27, 2008 - 01:33 AM
LAS VEGAS -- Well, it lived it to its billing, didn't it? Boxing fans, with sky-high expectations for the fight between Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, appropriately named "The Battle" by promoter Top Rank, got exactly what they asked for: A riveting slugfest with a dramatic ending that left the throbbing crowd of 10,477 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in ecstasy.
And when it was over, it was Margarito, the underdog, who was the new welterweight champion after knocking Cotto down twice in the 11th round before his trainer and uncle, Evangelista Cotto, climbed the steps and waived a white towel in resignation to end a sensational fight on Saturday night.
Moments after the fight had ended, Margarito was being interviewed in the ring by Mexican television broadcasters in a scene that said it all: He was smiling ear to ear with his arms draped over his country's greatest champion, Julio Cesar Chavez.
Margarito had idolized Chavez since meeting him as a youth at a boxing match in Mexico. Now, he can stand by his side and belong there.
Margarito won a welterweight title for the third time and validated the claims of him, his team and Top Rank's Bob Arum. For years, they had pounded home the same message: that Margarito was the most avoided fighter in boxing.
Even Floyd Mayweather Jr. once turned down $8 million to fight him. Now, we can see why.
Now, the stars in the loaded 147-pound division will need to see him if they want to be called the best.
"He's a guy everyone has ducked for years and now he's here saying, 'Come and get me,'" Arum said.
Cotto was one of the few fighters willing to face the man they call "The Tijuana Tornado," and it looked like a smart move early in the fight. He was faster and busier and was tagging Margarito with relative ease. But Margarito kept on trucking, never giving up, never giving in.
He was a relentless force, one Arum described perfectly.
"I really thought the way Miguel was beating him to the punch early, he was going to slow him down and take him out," Arum said. "It didn't work out that way for him. Margarito was like a freight train going downhill until it finally ran him over."
"In training camp, we worked on pressure and working behind the jab," Sergio Diaz, Margarito's co-manager said. "We knew Cotto was a better boxer and we knew we were the better puncher, so our goal was to break him down."
Margarito, the crowd favorite with so many Mexicans chanting for him, said the fight went the way he figured it would go.
"I trusted my preparation," he said. "Obviously, Cotto is a very strong fighter. Slowly the tornado rumbled. I told my corner I would wear him down and then knock him out. He never hurt me. That was the game plan, to come out early, be strong and wear him down. I hit him with body shots, I hit him in the head and then I knocked him out."
Cotto, 27, who was making his fifth title defense, had been in control early with his deft counterpunching and fast combinations, but Margarito kept stalking forward.
"In the sixth round, I could feel him getting weaker and I was getting stronger and I knew it was my time," he said.
Sure enough, Margarito dominated the scorecards over the final six rounds and he led 96-94 on two cards and it was 95-95 on the third when he made the judges irrelevant.
It was obvious that Margarito was coming on when he landed an uppercut in the seventh round and Cotto staggered and had to hold on. As the crowd went wild, Margarito was landing right hands and Cotto, when he finally got away from him, began spitting streams of blood onto the canvas.
Finally, in the 11th, the Margarito freight train arrived at the station. He rocked Cotto with a combination, forcing him to smartly take a knee.
Cotto was in bad shape and Margarito knocked him down again on the other side of the ring, and when he rose to take Kenny Bayless' count, Evangelista Cotto came up onto the ring apron.
The fight of the year candidate certainly put itself into the pantheon of memorable matches between Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters.
You can surely add it to the list of such fights as Wilfredo Gomez-Carlos Zarate, Salvador Sanchez-Gomez, Gomez-Lupe Pintor and Chavez-Edwin "Chapo" Rosario. Margarito-Cotto did the rivalry proud.
It did boxing proud.
How good was it? Bayless said it was the best fight he'd ever been in the ring for, surpassing Manny Pacquiao-Erik Morales II.
"Margarito was just a strong and determined fighter tonight," Bayless said. "It's the best fight I've ever done. They started out throwing power punches and they never stopped. They were throwing bombs and they never stopped."
Right after the fight, Arum told Margarito (37-5, 27 KOs) that "it was a long journey and you've come a long way. Now, he is in a position where he has come this far, so determined, and now is his time to shine and make some money. We'll see what the best options are out there."
Arum had been negotiating a Dec. 6 fight between Cotto (32-1, 26 KOs) and Oscar De La Hoya, who plans to retire after his next fight.
That's out the window now, but Margarito, 30, has a good idea.
"Oscar De La Hoya is one of the best," he said. "We can give Mexicans a true battle."
Margarito and Cotto gave all boxing fans a true battle.
Posted July 27, 2008 - 10:51 AM
I'm guessing either way, you possibly got that notion from reading the Boxing Fanz thread in the other sports forum at CL? All I said & I still stand by it basically was that I expected most likely Cotto to win unfortunately, but that if Antonio did instead, I wouldn't be shocked or surprised either. But I kinda have the habit of doing that pretty often when there's a fighter I REALLY want to win, I'll pick the opposing one to win/think negatively so that If I'm unfortunately right, the pain, suffering, and or disappointment isn't as big as it could've been had I been a complete homer & almost felt no chance of my guy losing so to speak.
Margorito was awesome though. It was clear Cotto was the fan favorite, but as rounds went on, little by little, more & more people started getting on Tony's side as well as the Mexican fans finally really getting louder. He was the aggressor the whole damn night & threw way more punches consistently. Sure, give Cotto his props, he probably landed maybe more quantity & quality hard hits to Tony's face, but it doesn't matter cuz Tony wasn't even rocked whatsoever, he just kept coming. He's got one of the strongest chins in the game by far. Has to be up there with some guy who gets his arse beat all the time & rarely ever falls, but kinda sucks overall, some Puerto Rican named Jesse Feliciano.
Besides in my personal opinion, the fighter who's clearly being the aggressor the whole match and following his opponent around the ring chasing him constantly, being the predator, should always almost automatically deserves a few extra points or extra favor by the judging when it's all said & done & the outcome of the match is debated. I didn't like many time how Cotto was just running around & in fact, I got even more pissed when at times, he could've gotten' knocked out earlier, but he would hug Tony on purpose in a few instances just to save himself & get past the round/saved by the bell so to speak.
Overall, it was one of the best moments in my life. I hadn't felt that proud & happy in a long time, probably since the Julio Cesar Chavez days, to that magnitude as far as boxing & the personal happiness. Especially recently, with nothing but Pacquiao dominating a ton of Mexicans & hardly any imo were worthy opponents on his level or close, except for Juan Manuel Marquez, but yeah.. finally something good for us. As much as Manny beats on la raza, I still actually enjoy watching the guy fight. I mean it is hard to watch my peoples getting their arse whooped by him, but at the same time, I can't deny I appreciate greatness & flair when I see it.
Anyway, so what are the possibilities here? Obviously, if you saw the match & you watched afterwards as well, Tony did an awesome job of literally calling out the Golden Boy & so that sounds pretty intriguing, but then supposedly, there are also rumors of Pacquiao DLH so who knows at this point for sure..
Posted August 02, 2008 - 08:26 AM
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