Miguel Cotto Stops Antonio Margarito In Nine Rounds
Miguel Cotto dominated and battered Antonio Margarito, over nine lopsided rounds, on Saturday night (December 3) at Madison Square Garden, earning a TKO decision after a ringside doctor ruled that the Mexican fighter could no longer continue.
The Puerto Rican fighter seemed like he was punishing the Tijuana-bred boxer for it too, repeatedly rocking him with jabs, straight rights, and stiff lefts, helping him avenge a 2008 loss against Margarito, which added the first blemish to his then-perfect record.
Margarito reportedly underwent surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone, following a loss to Manny Pacquiao last November ... and contemplated retirement. He obviously returned, but wasn't licensed until November 22, after the New York State Athletic Commission ordered an examination of his eye.
From the beginning of Saturday night's fight, Cotto aimed for that eye until it was swollen shut by the seventh round.
With the eye closed, a ringside physician examined the eye before the ninth round and let the bout resume. But the round, in which Cotto continued to beat on the eye, the doctors ruled Margarito couldn't see out of the eye and told referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight, despite the objections of Margarito and his corner men.
"The eye was completely shut," Smoger said. "He couldn't see out and I couldn't see in. We have a rule in New York that if you can't see out of an eye, we have to stop the fight."
Margarito seemed to be hunting for one big blow to turn things around, which never came.
Cotto stared down Margarito from his corner after the bout was stopped ... later explaining that he wanted to "taste my victory."
"Just to look at him and taste my victory on him. He means nothing to me. I'm here with all my crowd and all my people. He means nothing to me," Cotto said.
In their first meeting, the "Tijuana Tornado" stopped Cotto in the 11th round in Las Vegas. Cotto had maintined previously, and during the lead-up to Saturday's fight, that Margarito also used illegal plaster-loaded hand wraps -- which were confiscated before his January 2009 loss to Shane Mosley -- during their first fight and claimed he had the photos to prove it. And, long resisted a rematch because he didn't want money going to an opponent who didn't fight fair.
When he finally took the rematch, he left nothing to chance ... as seen by his performance, taking it to his rival from round #1. He event smiled and taunted
Despite the stoppage, and how battered his face looked, Margarito claims he had "no vision problems" and would've won if the fight continued.
"I needed two more rounds to win the fight," he said. "I thought I threw harder punches, was doing fine."
Cotto improved to 37-2, while Margarito fell to 38-8.
Fight promoter Bob Arum said, after the fight, that Cotto's next fight might be against middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but also Floyd Mayweather Jr. also is a possibility.
By Randall Stevens
Cotto TKOs rival Margarito
Miguel Cotto got his revenge, and Antonio Margarito probably has to see another eye doctor.
In a brilliant display of boxing skills and determination, Cotto got his long-awaited justice, earning a TKO and retaining his WBA junior middleweight title at 154 pounds when ringside doctors stopped the fight after the ninth round because Margarito’s right eye was swollen shut. The official time was three seconds into the 10th, but that’s only because doctors allowed Margarito to desperately plea to fight at least one more round.
But his pleas fell on deaf ears and eventually were drowned out by a sellout crowd of 21,239 mostly Cotto fans who delighted in their warrior’s win. It was sweet revenge for the Puerto Rican, who dominated the fight. He was up on all three scorecards 89-82 and never was seriously hurt.
Anthony J. Causi
“He’s still a very strong fighter, but I’m way better than he is,” Cotto said. “I’m very happy and very proud of what I did. There was a lot of hard work in training camp and the strategy worked. I’m very happy to finally get it over with.”
Margarito said he would have won given time.
“I thought I threw the harder punches,” he said. “I did need more rounds to beat him.”
Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) and Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) first met in July 2008 in Las Vegas when Margarito scored an 11th-round TKO after Cotto could no longer endure the punishment he was taking. Though he had dominated the early rounds with his boxing skills, Cotto became a bloody mess as he began to wilt under Margarito’s relentless pressure and power punches.
But that fight and many of Margarito’s previous victories came under scrutiny when plaster-like substances were found in his hand wraps before his fight with Shane Mosley in January 2009. Margarito was suspended for a year, and Cotto now believes Margarito had loaded wraps in their fight.
In recent weeks, the two exchanged insults with Cotto calling Margarito a “criminal” and “an embarrassment” to boxing, while Margarito countered by saying Cotto punches “like a girl.”
But the hand wraps weren’t the only sub plot last night. The New York State Athletic Commission brought in an eye surgeon with the specific assignment to watch Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye. It was concern over the eye that caused the commission to delay granting Margarito his boxing license until two weeks before the fight. Margarito had a broken orbital bone repaired, a cataract removed and an artificial lens inserted to repair damage he suffered in his November fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, Naazim Richardson, the trainer for Mosley, who originally detected the illegal plaster-like pads in the hand wraps Margarito was wearing before his fight with Mosley, was brought in by the Cotto camp to specifically watch Margarito’s hands being wrapped last night. But he was not allowed into Margarito’s locker room by the NYSAC because the Philadelphia native was not licensed. Instead it was Cotto’s trainer, Pedro Diaz, who watched Margarito’s wrapping like a hawk hunting prey.
* In the undercard bouts, Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Pawel Wolak (29-2-1, 19 KOs) in a fight that was as thrilling as their first. Rodriguez of Danbury, Conn., used his long jab and quick combinations to riddle a charging Wolak of Mount Arlington, N.J., with an endless stream of punches. Rodriguez ended it by dominating the 10th and final round. ... Brandon Rios lost his WBA lightweight title on the scale but scored an 11th-round TKO over John Murray of England.
By GEORGE WILLIS
Cotto gets closure by dominating Margarito in hateful rematch
NEW YORK -- Genuine hatred, like the animus that underwrote Saturday's rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden, cannot be manufactured by even the shrewdest of boxing's carnival barkers, try as they might.
Towards the end of the night, Antonio Margarito's right eye had swollen completely shut, a credit to Miguel Cotto's accuracy. AP
And the rancor between these two was never more evident than moments after Cotto finished off a 10th-round TKO of Margarito, defending his WBA super welterweight title before an electric crowd of 21,239 that packed the house for the first boxing card at the renovated arena.
Before ring announcer Michael Buffer could read the official result, Cotto had wandered over toward Margarito's corner simply to be seen -- a rare moment of braggadocio from one of boxing's classiest and understated champions.
"I wanted him to see me savoring my victory," Cotto confessed afterward, "with the one eye he had open."
The four-year blood feud that came to an end Saturday night -- we can only pray -- traced back to Margarito's gruesome victory over Cotto for his welterweight championship in 2008. It had been one of the most memorable slugfests in recent memory, but its legitimacy was thrown into question when Margarito was caught attempting to use loaded gloves ahead of his next fight with Shane Mosley, an offense that led to a suspension and nearly a year-and-a-half of inactivity.
In Saturday's long-anticipated rematch, Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) badly mistreated Margarito over nine rounds before the ring doctor intervened prior to the 10th.
"I felt extra motivation," said Cotto, who connected on 210 of 493 punches (43 percent) compared to 147 of 700 for Margarito (22 percent). "I was vindicated. You can see my face now and how I got out of ring in 2008. Draw your own conclusions."
Cotto hates Margarito because he feels he was cheated out of what might have been the headiest days of his career. The Puerto Rican was 32-0 and a superstar-in-waiting when Margarito gave him the beating of a lifetime and took his welterweight title. It is to Cotto's immense credit -- and probably the cherry on top of his Hall of Fame case -- that he didn't let it completely derail his career.
Margarito doesn't seem to hate Cotto per se, but he committed a hateful act -- certainly the most hateful act one boxer can commit against another -- a thing that has sent other fighters to prison for assault. It was a night when Cotto lost something he'll never get back. It is the sport's gravest sin, and it's branded him a villain for life. "El jugů con la vida de mi esposo," Cotto's wife told HBO in a recent interview. He played with the life of my husband.
It wasn't so much that Margarito did wrong -- from Michael Vick to Betty White, America loves a comeback -- it's that he seems so at peace with it. He is the cowboy in the black hat and he seems to relish the role, bearing a Grinch-like smile as the heavily pro-Cotto audience rained boos on his ringwalk. To Margarito, the road to redemption was not through repentance but through victory.
Yet Cotto made it clear from the opening bell that revenge was his. Buoyed by the carnival-like atmosphere his fights always promote at the Garden (where now six times he's fought and won), Cotto looked sharper and quicker from the jump, landing crisp left-right-left combinations that sent the crowd into hysterics. A straight right early in the second round wobbled Margarito, the Mexican's wide grin and continuous taunts belying their effect.
Cotto's defense looked as good as it's ever been, aided in no small part by a Margarito who looked rusty and clumsy, like a man in the dark trying to find the light switch. He effortlessly parried and blocked Margarito's unrefined offerings, moving with ease and scoring on a wide variety of punches.
Emboldened, Cotto ramped up the pace in the action-heavy third and connected with a series of vicious power shots, including a huge left hook that rocked Margarito backwards. By the end of the round, a trickle of blood ran down from the corner of Margarito's surgically repaired right eye -- a souvenir from the Mexican's stomach-turning beating against Manny Pacquiao in 2009. From then on, it became a race against time, with the doctors at ringside keeping close tabs on an eye that had nearly seen the fight moved out of New York when the state athletic commission balked at licensing him.
Though Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) enjoys significant advantages in height and reach, he is a pressure fighter who prefers the fight in a phone booth. Yet against Cotto he couldn't find a way to get inside without paying the toll -- and the price was consistenly steep. The 33-year-old Mexican finally began to connect with consistency in the fourth round, landing some of the uppercuts in close quarters that so troubled Cotto when they first met in 2008, but not nearly enough to beat back the inevitable.
Margarito was simply too slow.
By the sixth, Margarito could not see out of his right eye, which Cotto had targeted with grim accuracy. When sent to a neutral corner Margarito gave an unconvincingly reassuring nod to his wife, who looked concerned behind his corner a few seats down from Carmelo Anthony. Margarito soon began leaning into Cotto, a last-ditch effort to leverage his physical advantages, but Cotto kept scoring with well-schooled combinations -- often punctuated by that exquisite left hook.
After ring doctor Anthony Curreri took a long look at Margarito's eye following the eighth -- which by then was completely shut -- it became clear he'd only get another three minutes to reverse his fortunes.
It wasn't to be.
Hungry but not overeager to close the show, Cotto continued where he'd left off, peppering Margarito with rapid flurries and moving safely out of danger. Even in what everyone recognized as the fight's dying moments, as Cotto snapped Margarito's head back with powerful straight rights, Margarito grinned in mad defiance -- the Joker to the stoic Puerto Rican's Batman.
"I asked for at least one more round, they wouldn't give it to me," Margarito groused at the post-fight presser. "I felt like this was a continuation of the first fight. The last few rounds were going to be mine."
He spoke with conviction in Spanish, trainer Robert Garcia translating. But when he proffered the conspiracy theory of a premature stoppage in the interest of protecting Cotto's future, it no longer felt like the gambit of a delicious villain. It came off as sour grapes.
With Saturday's emphatic victory, the 31-year-old Cotto can finally close the chapter on one of boxing's most regrettable chapters and look toward the future -- which could include a move up to middleweight and pursuit of a championship in a fourth different weight division. At last, he can trade in the hate for apathy.
"He has his own life, I have my own," Cotto said of Margarito, speaking in English. "He can keep with his life, I'm going to keep with mine.
"He means nothing to me."
Bryan Armen Graham
Cool Cotto gets long-sought revenge
NEW YORK – Other than the raucous sell-out crowd of 21,239 fans which roared for Miguel Cotto’s every move, little seemed different between Saturday’s bout with Antonio Margarito and their first match in 2008.
Cotto boxed beautifully in both bouts and peppered Margarito with a series of of hooks, jabs, crosses and uppercuts. And just as in their epic 2008 bout in Las Vegas, Margarito kept barreling forward the whole way.
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