Saying there will be a bloodbath come December 3rd at the Madison Square Garden, New York is spot on. When you got two hard-punching rivals going at it again, one can expect nothing short of a classic contest of pugilistic contest fused with raw savagery. When you got WBA light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and former welterweight beltholder and disgraced brawler Antonio Margarito locking horns for the second time around, expect more.
Since their first fight over three years ago, Cotto has been crying foul, a call he fervently and zealously stands for up to the present. Since Margarito’s fall from grace, mainly due to the loaded handwraps controversy that stemmed prior to the Shane Mosley fight back in early 2009, Cotto has never ceased calling Margarito a cheat, implying Margarito had the same unfair advantage when the Mexican tore up Cotto in their 2008 battle.
On his end, Margarito remains adamant about his innocence, citing he fought and beat Cotto with what nature has given him. On the repeated accusations thrown by Cotto, Margarito simply said that a second fight will be the perfect way to lay down the doubts and lift the stigma the controversy casted over him.
It is their job to trade punches inside the squared circle. But with bad blood brewing between these two champions, one needs not to be a wise man to say things will get really personal and ugly.
And all we can do is watch and enjoy the ensuing carnage.
Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs)
Why he will win
On top of him being fueled by revenge, Cotto has been on a roll after moving up to light middleweight when he challenged then WBA champion Yuri Foreman in June 2010. Momentum is a good thing in the field of sweet science, and Cotto has that on his side.
Also worthy of mention is Cotto’s legions of fans. Fighting in New York, where most Latin Americans are comprised of Puerto Ricans, gives Cotto the hometown advantage, despite being a solid citizen of Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Why he will lose
Cotto is a certified banger. But his punching power never yielded any desired effects on the forward-plodding Margarito in their first fight. Despite landing most of his shots in the earlier rounds, Cotto’s punching power never seemed to put Margarito in any real trouble.
Cotto has never fought a legitimate light middleweight fighter. Foreman was a paper champion and Ricardo Mayorga was not even a challenge. Despite him being a former light middleweight titlist, Mayorga was over the hill when Cotto got to him. Evidently, after two fights in the division, Cotto is not battle-tested at the 154-pound limit.
Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs)
Why he will win
Margarito is a dangerous opponent when focused and well-conditioned. Judging from the news and recent videos coming form his camp, the prizefighter known as the Tijuana Tornado is all business coming in to his rematch with Cotto. A man seeking redemption will not stop at anything, and that is exactly who Margarito is right now.
Margarito also had one of the toughest chins in the sport, losing seven fights but was stopped only once. Margarito’s iron-casted chin and his pressure fighting approach will remain his prized assets come fight night, both of which have been significant in the first fight.
Lastly, Margarito has that psychological edge over Cotto. The Puerto Rican was mentally broken after their first match. As experts say, it is hard to heal from psychological after effects. And if Cotto still has them, then he is in big trouble.
Why he will lose
The loss to Shane Mosley revealed that an out-of-focus Margarito is a very beatable Margarito. If indeed the Mexican had loaded gloves the nigh he fought Cotto, facing him now without such unfair leverage will surely toy with Margarito’s mind.
Just like their first match, Cotto will be dominating the early rounds, outboxing Margarito while scoring with combinations. But Margarito can take the full force of Cotto’s shots and still come forward. The Mexican will try the same approach, walking Cotto down and hammer him with hard shots all throughout the fight.
Cotto cuts and bleeds easily and this will play in Margarito’s favor. Cotto will try to maneuver his way around Margarito, who will certainly have his moments with those powerful hooks and uppercuts.
The pressure will surely affect Cotto’s performance but knowing what Margarito is capable of doing, he will certainly try to keep the fight from a distance. Margarito, who never fights like a tall, big man, will be hellbent on bending Cotto to his will and pressure him all night.
Cotto’s superior ring generalship will help him win most of the rounds, but Margarito’s relentless style will be too much and pressure will overwhelm the Boricua Bomber. Margarito by knockout in the late rounds.
Photo credits: Guardian UK