Cotto vs. Margarito II Review: “He means nothing to me” (Slideshow)

Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico righted a wrong in the eyes of many in the boxing world by defeating Antonio Margarito of Mexico with a dramatic tenth round TKO victory at Madison Square Garden in New York. Photo: AP/Frank Franklin II

SAN DIEGO, Dec 4, 2011 – Boxing fans got a brightly wrapped Christmas present Saturday night and when it was unwrapped, it didn’t disappoint.

Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico righted a wrong in the eyes of many in the boxing world by defeating Antonio Margarito of Mexico with a dramatic tenth round TKO victory at Madison Square Garden in New York. It seemed all 21,239 fans were on their feet for the majority of the bout cheering on Cotto with enthusiam, their Puerto Rican native son.

The fight began much like the first one, with Cotto moving well, throwing shots and then getting quickly out of Margarito’s way. But Margarito is known for his relentless pressure, and he pressed Cotto forward successfully. Cotto’s punches were landing at a higher connect percentage than Margarito in the early rounds.

Then in round four, a left hook by Cotto cut Margarito’s right eye, the same eye damaged so badly by Manny Pacquiao in 2010. While not a devastating cut, Cotto focused on the opportunity just as he said he would do in pre-fight interviews. Eventually the eye was swollen shut.

Still, halfway through the fight Margarito continued to put pressure on Cotto, if not landing the type of punches he did in their first meeting. For a fleeting moment in round seven, it seemed Margarito might start taking command just as he did in the first fight.

But Cotto didn’t allow it to happen. Margarito’s eye didn’t allow it to happen either. Margarito, fighting with a sense of urgency, simply couldn’t see well enough to be effective landing power shots on Cotto. For his part, Cotto continued to land shots and even engaged in some bodywork with Margarito, something he doesn’t always do well.

Fans held their breath before the start of the ninth round, as primary ringside doctor Barry Jordan insisted on one more look at Margarito’s eye before letting him enter the ring for the round.

Margarito made it through round nine, but it was clear he was having trouble seeing, and he looked fatigued. Make no mistake, Margarito was still pressing forward, still engaging, and would have continued fighting as long as he could stand.

But in the end, Margarito’s eye and Dr. Jordan got the final say. The tenth round bell went off with referee Steve Smoger asking Jordan twice, “Are you stopping the fight?” In the meantime, Margarito and his camp were insisting he could continue. Finally the referee made it official at three seconds into round 10, and the rematch was over.

Miguel Cotto after his victory over Antonio Margarito. AP/Frank Franklin II

In his post-fight interview with HBO analyst Max Kellerman, Cotto declared himself satisfied with the victory despite the way it came about. When asked by Kellerman what he thought now of Margarito, Cotto said, “He means nothing to me,” and repeated the statement a few minutes later. Noted for his sportsmanship, this represents a strong statement from Cotto.

When asked delicately by Kellerman about Margarito’s punching power in this fight versus their 2008 meeting, Cotto said, “I’m still awake, that’s my answer” meaning that Margarito didn’t punch as hard. This was a not-so-veiled reference to the allegations that Margarito used illegal hand wraps to beat Cotto in their first fight.

After the fight, Margarito insisted he had been able to see perfectly fine. When questioned about the strength of his punches, Margarito told HBO’s Kellerman, “Look at his (Cotto’s) face!” And then he repeated his pre-fight taunt, “He hits like a girl,” claiming he didn’t feel Cotto’s punches. Margarito needed 12 stitches to his eye from a plastic surgeon following the fight.

Margarito deployed the same strategy which proved successful for him in the first fight. But this time, Cotto seemed to move better, cutting Margarito off and keeping away from the ropes, where Margarito trapped him to administer punishment in the first fight. Cotto’s switch to former Cuban Olympic boxing team coach Dr. Pedro Benitez paid off, as he showed the ability to move around Margarito, pushing him back successfully in later rounds, inflicting damage while working to avoid getting hit by Margarito inside at close range.

Without the eye injury Margarito suffered in his fight with Manny Pacquiao, this would have likely gone the distance and been closer. Cotto would have won a decision. He was well ahead on points, eight rounds to one on all three judges’ scorecards. With three rounds left, Margarito would have had to knock Cotto out. Not this time.

Final CompuBox stats showed Cotto landing 43 percent of his punches, the exact same percentage as in his last fight with Margarito, evidence of his complete domination of the fight. Margarito landed only 22 percent of his punches.

As predicted, it was an action-packed brawl filled with drama inside and outside the ring. Both fighters gave everything they had. Fans of the sweet science can’t ask for anything more.

The script might not have been written exactly as Cotto hoped, but he’ll gladly take the victory and move on to an exciting future filled with crowd-pleasing fighters like Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Julio Caesar Chavez. Jr., James Kirkland, and Canelo Alvarez.

As for Margarito, it’s doubtful even if anyone would license him to fight with his damaged right eye that he’ll ever fight at the elite level again. It would be the wise thing to do for him to retire now.


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan and honored to join Jason Black of Fade to Black covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story. 

Copyright © 2011 by Falcon Valley Group

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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