Bloodsport 2: Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 30, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
Chris Farina / Top Rank
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: In a few days, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will settle their differences. Their disagreement began a few months after Margarito took apart Cotto in Las Vegas, stopping him in the 11th round three years ago. It was a brutal fight, a “modern boxing classic” as HBO’s Max Kellerman called it. Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) had taken a fearful pounding, but his heart and will refused to fold. Cotto’s face was swollen and misshapen. He resembled a baseball catcher who had forgotten to put on his headgear. The quicker Cotto (38-2, 29 KOs) had fought brilliantly in the first five rounds. He constantly beat the much slower Margarito to the punch. His combinations dropped on Margarito’s face like mini bombs. Cotto was winning all right, but Margarito was still there. He withstood the bombs and lobbed some back. Cotto was bleeding from the lip and running out of gas. He tried to find somewhere to breathe in round 11 but was not successful. Margarito stayed in his grill and punched and punched and punched some more. Cotto finally took a knee acquiescing to Margarito's superiority.

Fast forward to now. Cotto believes with all of his being that Margarito is a cheater. His evidence was a picture of Margarito's hand after their fight was over. Had Margarito cheated his way to victory? Margarito has consistently said no. Cotto begs to differ. He points to the scandal involving Margarito's hand wraps before his fight with Shane Mosley.

A few years ago, Cotto and Margarito were friends. Nowadays friend is not a term either one uses to describe the other. Cotto hates Margarito.

“He used it. He used the plaster the night of the fight with me,” stated Cotto. “He looked, and he acts like a criminal."
Margarito attacks Cotto's manhood every chance he gets.

"If he thinks I had plaster, it will hurt like I was using plaster, and he will know it,” he says.

Cotto is seeking revenge while Margarito looks for redemption. It sounds like a barbaric Shakespearean play. But it's not. It's boxing at its bloody best.

To understand Cotto and Margarito is to observe their respective boxing styles. Cotto is the smooth boxer/slugger - a natural in the ring - equipped with every punch in the book. Margarito is the predator, attacking at every chance he gets. He's old school, taking three to land one but never giving up. Margarito says he would gladly die in the ring. Cotto shakes his head and calls Margarito stupid.

Margarito feels that if the fight becomes another battle of attrition he has the advantage.

"Mentally and physically I do," he said. "I've already shown it once, and I'm going to show it again."

Cotto shakes his head at Margarito's assertion. Margarito's right eye had been a concern to many in the weeks leading up to the fight. Not Cotto, he plans to target the eye.

"He played with my health. I'll play with his," Cotto said.

And there you have it. This is not a grudge match. This is a blood match.

So who will win?

Cotto will fight intelligently and slay his boogeyman by decision.

More from John:
The young gun and the old pro: Saul Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron John J. Raspanti

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