Body Blows: Cotto/Margarito

As stated in my review of EliteXC: Unfinished Business, this was a busy night of fights. With everything going on at once, I’m opting for a quick version of my thoughts on the fight.

Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito is not just the most anticipated welterweight fight this year, but the most anticipated boxing fight this year. It is a great matchup of styles and has the natural Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry added to the welterweight title fight.

After about 15 minutes of singing national anthems the fight was finally started. Michael Buffer seemed pissed that the girl that milked the Star-Spangled Banner for about ten minutes took away from his camera time. Cotto looked phenomenal early on. He was way faster than Margarito and landed combos with freightening accuracy. Cotto didn’t stay still for long as he would get on his horse after ripping off a combo. Margarito was like the Terminator and kept coming forward no matter what he was hit with. This would, however, turn into a tale of two fights.

After getting picked apart by Miguel Cotto over the first six rounds, Antonio Margarito caused a swing in momentum. This momentum change was not caused by Margarito doing anything differently. Cotto just couldn’t keep up his early pace. Honestly, not many people can. Margarito was consistently throwing over 100 punches per round. He had Cotto hurt in the later rounds and had the champion trying to clinch. Margarito’s constant pressure had to be unsettling for Cotto. This is a man that has made a name for himself by not only stopping his opponents but usually disfiguring their faces. Ask Alfonso Gomez. Ask Zab Judah. Ask Paulie Malignaggi. By the end of the fight Miguel Cotto looked like he just got finished fighting Miguel Cotto. And for all the clean shots that Cotto landed (there were a lot) Margarito’s face didn’t show it. And Margarito never once took a step backwards after getting hit. Never once. Not one step back. That’s crazy.

What Cotto was handling so well early in the fight became his downfall. Constant pressure from Margarito caused Cotto to take a knee in the 11th after getting pummeled. Ten seconds wasn’t enough recovery time as Cotto retreated to the corner at the restart. Cotto dodged two punches and took another knee. Cotto was not hit after the first knockdown, he just didn’t want to fight anymore. His corner picked up on it and threw in the towel to stop the fight, giving Antonio Margarito the thrilling victory and Miguel Cotto his first loss. It is hard for a fight to live up to its hype when it is being billed as Fight of the Year before a punch is thrown but these two did just that. Just a wonderful contest that deserves your attention when the fight is replayed on HBO next week.

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