On July 26, 2008, Miguel Cotto suffered his first lost at the hands of Antonio Margarito. In this fight, we saw Cotto apparently dominate the first half of the fight with good counterpunching.
I say apparently because during these same rounds, Margarito managed to land powerful body shots which debilitating effect were noticeable from the seventh round on. By the 11th, Cotto finally succumbed to Margarito’s pressure.
For Cotto to once again establish himself as an elite fighter, he would have to demonstrate that the punishment he took on this fight has not caused permanent damage. This can be done with a “confidence building fight” against a serviceable opponent—someone of the caliber of Walter Dario Mathysse.
As a second step, Cotto should try to get one of the alphabet titles. Out of the other three champions, he should take advantage of an inexperienced Andre Berto, who recently mentioned him as a possible opponent for 2009.
I sincerely don’t see this fight going past the ninth round. Berto has been visibly hurt by lesser opponents and he has never been in the ring with someone who is as effective with his body shots as Cotto. Don’t get me wrong—Berto is no pushover, but he won’t be able to handle Cotto’s offensive arsenal.
These two are fights that he should win and that would assure him that he is still one of the top players in the division. Most importantly, these are not fights that Cotto would endure a lot of punishment. But after these fights, Cotto needs an opponent that would almost certainly make him fight for 12 rounds.
I think Carlos Baldomir would fit perfectly in this scenario. Baldomir has demonstrated a tremendous chin and also applies constant pressure for the full length of the fight. He doesn’t bring the same punch output that Margarito would, but I can’t think of somebody that does among the welterweights.
Another very good reason I like Baldomir as an opponent for Cotto is because he would have to employ a fight plan similar to the one he used to against Margarito. This way we should have a good idea of how he would fare on a rematch against the Tijuana Tornado.
I know these fights are not as easily made on real life as they are on paper, but these are my thoughts on how a fighter like Cotto can re-establish himself after suffering his first defeat.
I think Cotto can beat Margarito. His strategy for the fight was very good but I thought he needed to let his hands go a little more whenever he made Margarito miss. I sincerely think that for Cotto to once again be considered an elite fighter, he should have to beat Margarito.