On the night of July 26th of this year, as Miguel Cotto took his second knee to the canvas under the unrelenting pressure from a TOUGH (yup, all caps kind of tough) Antonio Margarito, not only did I feel destroyed inside, I also began wondering about how their rematch would go.
A rematch was a foregone conclusion given the competitiveness of the contest, Cotto having being the champion and seeing how, at least in my eyes, the hype was not only justified but exceeded. See, I'm Puertorican, just like Cotto. Boxing is not only my favorite sport; it is a cultural thing and nothing riles up boxing fans more than a PR vs Mexico fight.
I want to make clear that I have nothing but respect for Mexican fighters and box fans. On ESPN's most recent P4P rankings, four spots are occupied by Mexican fighters (Margarito included). That's quite impressive. Also on that list there's two fellow Puerto Ricans (Cotto included); an equally impressive feat considering that they come from a small 100 miles wide by 35 miles long chunk of beautiful and sunny land in the Caribbean Sea.
If you didn't hear the term "Mexican/Puertorican boxing rivalry" 1,000,000 times during the buildup to the fight, you didn't hear it at all. Boxing and sports news sites forums were abuzz about the prospect of the perfect clash of styles; two warriors, each on a seemingly unstoppable roll, headed to "The Battle". Boy, did it ever pay off!
Now, these two warriors are once again on a collision course. After taking over six months off to nurse their injuries—and in Cotto's case his pride—Margarito is poised to fight Shane Mosley on January 24th for the WBA welterweight belt and Cotto will fight Brit Michael Jennings for the recently vacated WBO welter strap on February 14th.
Both fighters should emerge victorious setting up another summer meeting. The way I see it, having lost will benefit Cotto more than it will Margarito to have won. I see it as the Patriots having lost a regular season game last year would've been better for them than go undefeated against the Giants in the Super Bowl.
The "Second Battle" should be Cotto's redemption night. He's a smart fighter and if he watched the Hopkins-Pavlik fight he should have gotten an idea of where he went wrong and what he needs to do to last 12 rounds against Margarito's pressure.
We know Margarito won't change a thing. He's a one-dimensional fighter, much like Pavlik, and a preemptive approach against him by a quick fighter like Cotto should work better than trying to counter with his back against the ropes. The difference with Margarito is that even using an anvil against him could prove fruitless; he can take a punch like nobody else.
Let the guessing (and the forum wars) begin, again.