Sharkie’s Machine: Cotto Surrenders to Margarito in Eleven
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (July 27, 2008) (Photo © German Villasenor)  
Congratulations to the new WBA Welterweight titlist, Antonio Margarito (36-5, 27 KO’s), who lived up to his nick name, “The Tijuana Tornado” and vanquished the mighty Miguel Cotto (32-1, 26 KO’s) with his will, stamina and perseverance after being beaten to the punch for most of the first half of the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night.

It was a great fight, where the momentum shifted from one man to the other and ultimately saw the man with the better chin win.

This is what you get when the best fight the best. This was boxing the way it ought to be!

The Fight:

Round One
Cotto threw the first punch and was aggressive at the start, circling to the left of Margarito, who was content to feel him out for a while. They boxed at center ring; Cotto landed the sharper punches and made Margarito miss often. Cotto scored at will and raised his right hand to show the crowd in a display of confidence. Margarito landed some jabs but was missing most of his power punches thanks to Cotto’s great footwork. Cotto was warned by the referee, Kenny Bayless for punching low. Cotto was able to counter effectively and cracked Margarito with a pair of left hooks late in the round. 10-9 Cotto.

Round Two
Cotto scored with a one, two, then circled Margarito leftwards, mindful to pepper Margarito with combinations as he turned. Margarito smiled at Cotto after getting hit, expressing his joy at being in a fight, then pressed forward with shots up and down. Cotto blocked most of it but Margarito cracked Cotto to the body a few times and was landing more than the last round. Lots of action as both took turns controlling the tempo. Cotto landed a big left that snapped Margarito’s head up. The fans were screaming as the bell rang. 10-9 Cotto.

Round Three
Cotto moved backwards in a circle around Margarito, always looking to counter off the ropes. Margarito dug into his body and forced Cotto to brawl whenever they got close. Margarito pressured Cotto and landed a low shot. A moment later, Margarito landed another low shot. The ref said, “Keep ‘em up.” Lot of clashes and both scored. Cotto’s were the cleaner shots. 10-9 Cotto.

Between rounds, Margarito’s corner warned him not to be over confident.

Round Four
Cotto moved to the left. Margarito chased him and they fought, often trading uppercuts. Cotto got off the better of the punches. Margarito’s pressure forced Cotto to be busier than he might’ve wanted so early in the fight. Margarito moved forward with little regard for Cotto’s power. In spite of Cotto landing more, nothing was hurting Margarito. Cotto continued to land the better punches. 10-9 Cotto.

In the corner, Cotto’s corner worked on his eye, which had a small cut developing.

Round Five
Cotto continued moving leftward and landing punches as he moved around Margarito, who landed a good, round house right. Margarito was the aggressor at that point and Cotto was the counter puncher on the run. Margarito pressed Cotto into the ropes to do his best work. The pace quickening saw Cotto using his legs and Margarito chasing him with varying levels of success. Cotto slipped and ducked as Margarito threw flurries of punches late. Margarito getting closer. Can Cotto sustain this pace? 10-9 Cotto.

Round Six
More of the same, with Cotto on the move and Margarito in pursuit. Margarito finding Cotto on the ropes more often. Margarito starting to land good shots inside. Cotto usually landed first and last with Margarito landing in between. Cotto was fighting from a defensive posture and landed an uppercut, jabs, and combinations. Margarito kept blasting Cotto to the body and head relentlessly. Margarito was getting closer but Cotto landed the better shots at a higher percent to this point. 10-9 Cotto.

Round Seven
Margarito pressed Cotto into the ropes and turned on the windmill, punching Cotto with shots from all angles and hurting him. At 1:45, Margarito landed an uppercut that hurt Cotto. With his nose bleeding, Cotto covered up and tried to weather the storm. Margarito smelled blood and continued to blast Cotto. Cotto landed a combination. Margarito ignored it and crashed Cotto with his own barrage of punches that included a lot of uppercuts and crosses that landed cleaner than any of his previous shots. Cotto was in trouble in the corner when the bell rang. 10-9 Margarito.

Round Eight
Margarito walked Cotto down, cutting off the ring, keeping Miguel up near the ropes. Margarito threw a higher volume of power punches and landed regularly. Cotto looked to be getting the worst of it as Margarito’s pressure had Cotto on the edge. Margarito landed at will as they traded shots before the bell. Cotto had difficulty keeping Margarito at bay. 10-9 Margarito.

Javier Capetillo tells Margarito “We’re winning the fight.”

Round Nine
Cotto landed some good shots on the run but Margarito kept coming and punching and wearing Cotto down. Margarito looked fresh. Cotto was looking beat up. Cotto landed cleaner but was in effect, getting his ass kicked as Margarito walked right through his best shots. Cotto landed two left hooks, Margarito barely noticed. Margarito was scoring up and down and Cotto was looking the worse for wear as he headed to his corner after the bell. 10-9 Margarito.

Round Ten
Margarito goes right to work, chasing Cotto, forcing him to fight his fight; a brawl. Margarito looked bigger and stronger than Cotto. Cotto landed good shots, left hooks, body shots, jabs, you name it. Margarito kept harassing him and bullying him to the ropes and rallied late with non stop action that saw Cotto stagger against the ropes. Margarito stole the round. The bell saved Cotto again. 10-9 Margarito.

Round Eleven
Margarito immediately gets Cotto against the ropes and lets the leather fly. Cotto landed great shots but Margarito showed no effect. Margarito landed a series of shots along the ropes, including a left, right, then left uppercut into Cotto’s jaw followed by a right uppercut to the opposite side jaw. A right to the head sealed it as Cotto fell to his knee. After the count, Margarito went for the finish as Cotto was on wobbly legs. Cotto clinched and then moved toward the opposite corner. Margarito moved in for the kill and Cotto took a surrendering knee just before he arrived. Cotto’s corner threw in the towel. It was over. Margarito won by KO 11.

* *

This is a great win for Margarito. His toughness proved too much for Miguel Cotto, who’s arguably one of the best fighters in the entire sport. Margarito should celebrate his win and then try to get a rematch with Paul Williams, who beat him last year and took his WBO title that he held since 2004. Williams has expressed interest in a rematch with Margarito.

Of course there’ll be some vague mandatory match up that will come along to prevent the “champions” from fighting each other but hopefully, we can see some unification bouts in the welterweight division that can create ONE true Champion. Margarito clearly wants to fight the best guys. He ducks no one and is now undoubtedly, one of the top two fighters in the division. Other than beating Carlos Quintana in a rematch after losing to him and his win last year over Margarito, Williams hasn’t done much, but his size (six feet, two inches tall) and reach make him a tough mountain to climb for anyone 147 pounds.

The newly nominated WBC titlist, Andre Berto made noise about wanting to fight Paul Williams but is instead slated to fight journeyman, Steve Forbes in late September. Forbes, who recently played his part in a fight with Oscar De La Hoya and losing a 12 round decision, is not a top ten contender either. Apparently, the WBC isn’t interested in any unification bouts at Welterweight. Floyd held that belt hostage for almost two years.

To Berto’s credit, he has fast hands, good boxing skills on offense and we’ll find out how good his defense is, if he fights any of the top guys at Welter. Berto is still an untested prospect who won the vacated WBC title by beating Miguel Angel Rodriguez, a guy who wasn’t even a top ten contender. The title was vacated when a former “champion” retired from boxing—just when things were starting to get dangerously interesting.

Cotto and Margarito may end up fighting a rematch and that would be fine. However it all goes, let’s hope Williams, Berto and Margarito fight each other to create a unified Champion. If that happened, welterweight would be the ONLY division in boxing with a unified Champion. Imagine that?

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