Cotto Dominates Margarito
By Alec Kohut at ringside, Max Boxing (Dec 5, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Miguel Cotto (L) boxing Antonio Margarito (R)
Miguel Cotto waited for Saturday night just as over 21,000 fans that packed Madison Square Garden tonight waited for the rematch between Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Whether for revenge or a personal sense of justice, Miguel Cotto succeeded, thoroughly dominating Margarito over nine rounds until, under advice of the ringside doctor, referee Steve Smoger called a halt to the contest before the start of the tenth round.
From the opening bell until the stoppage, Cotto was the faster, sharper and just plain better fighter. Cotto began the first stanza dictating the pace with movement, picked his spots effectively and put his punches together well. From the onset, Margarito hardly looked like the fighter called the “Tijuana Tornado” for his extraordinary high punch output. Despite his new cornrow hairstyle, Margarito looked downright old.
As Cotto continued using his movement, the sold-out crowd in the Garden grew louder as he landed both a greater number of- and more- effective punches. Cotto breezed to another round on all three judges’ cards as Margarito was unable to land anything of consequence.
By the third round, Margarito was a far cry from the man who had risen to top of the boxing world three years ago, looking so much like an aged fighter as Cotto landed combinations and easily dodged Margarito’s wide punches. By the fourth round, Margarito’s eyes were showing the effects of the Cotto onslaught. The right eye, the cause of much concern in the weeks before the fight, was starting to close.
Margarito had his moments but looked nothing like the pre-hand wrap-scandal fighter. With each passing round, the crowd’s nervous energy metamorphosed into excitement in anticipation of victory- and redemption.
Margarito showed life in the final minute of round five but it was too little, too late as, again, all three judges scored the round for Cotto, now scoring a shutout on two cards and winning all but one round on the third. Margarito again looked to rebound in round six but Cotto’s movement, combined with Margarito’s diminished hand speed, enabled Cotto to escape any real harm.
While some of the crowd’s apprehension returned, Cotto scored a solid sixth round punctuated with a solid left hook, again bringing the crowd to its feet. Margarito did press on, however, and put together his best first half of a round of the fight in the seventh. Although the closest round of the fight, two judges scored the seventh heat for Cotto and in Margarito’s corner before the eighth, consideration of ending the bout was very well apparent.
Cotto seemed to know the fight was his to lose as the eighth round commenced. Cotto again used movement to create opportunities and prevent Margarito from gaining any momentum. With Margarito’s right eye now completely closed, Cotto landed left hands almost at will as again, the crowd erupted after the Puerto Rican landed a stinging combination just before the bell sounded.
When the bell heralded the opening of the ninth, it found Margarito still on his stool as the doctor took an even closer look at the suffering right eye. It seemed clear that end was near for Margarito. While Margarito did land his share of punches in the ninth round, even winning the round on one judge’s card, his punches hardly fazed Cotto.
The activity in Margarito’s corner was feverish. With Cotto pacing in the ring and the crowd noise rising, Smoger signaled the end of the bout. All three judges had the fight scored 89-82 through nine rounds.
While this will likely not end the debate over whether or not Margarito did indeed use illegal handwraps in their first meeting, both Miguel Cotto and his fans can rightfully state that when it was clear the fight was fought on equal terms, there was no doubt who the better man was.

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