I’ve little new to add to the thousands of column inches already afforded to the outstanding contest between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito last Saturday night. A tumultuous encounter that achieved that rarest of triumphs, it lived up to its promise. Both fighters were exceptional and though Margarito emerges with maximum credit for unseating the WBA Welterweight champion I believe now is the most opportune moment to applaud the performance and courage of his vanquished opponent.
I’ve not ventured to the various forums to whom Cotto was a hero but suspect most will carry numerous posts suggesting the Puerto Rican was exposed, or that the defeat somehow curtails Cotto’s pursuit of championships and recognition as the heir apparent to Felix Trinidad’s kingdom. In truth, the size disparity, proved the difference. Margarito proved able to absorb Cotto’s precise jab and jolting left hook without wavering from his forward march and eventually his natural advantages of strength and stamina took their toll on a man, who was still winning the fight on my scorecard at the end of the 10th.
At times he truly did little more than march toward Cotto who boxed sublimely for the first five rounds, counter-punching with menace, punching in clusters and offering just the type of movement required to bemuse the Mexican and expose his inability to adapt tactics – he simply had no conceivable plan on how to actually hit Cotto. Eventually, Cotto began to tire – which is akin to putting blood in the water of a shark tank with Margarito across the ring – and Margarito realised a rapid step to his right greatly improved his dictation and dominance of the fight.
Cotto will doubtless regroup. He shouldn’t be chastised too much for the defeat but in truth applauded for embracing the Margarito challenge when plenty have dismissed the opportunity as too much risk for too little reward. Margarito now has a potential rematch with Paul Williams to consider or the more tempting cash cows of Trinidad, Mayweather, Mosley, Oscar to peruse. Belated reward for one of the sport’s great warriors.
All a long way from defeats to Santos and Williams.