Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico is a rivalry that boxers have embodied for more than a century now, with Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) vs. Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KO) being the latest incarnation of the devastating war.
Cotto and Margarito originally fought July 26, 2008 in a battle that would leave both fighters brutalized and never the same again.
The Puerto Rican would go on to win another welterweight (147 lbs.) title to replace the one he lost, but would lose that one by knockout the following year to Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO).
Margarito would defend the belt he won from Cotto by knockout against Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KO), only to get knocked out himself in Round 9.
Cotto has since moved up to win a world title at the light middleweight (154 lbs.) division while Margarito has been brutalized on the road to recovery and redemption.
When the two meet again, a lot of controversial aspects of their initial fight will be put to rest. The history books will rest easily closed when these two warriors set foot in the ring in Madison Square Garden on December 3.
Here are 10 reasons to watch this fight.
Cotto in the closing hours of their previous bout.
Cotto has grown as a fighter since 2008.
He's become less willing to engage in brawling tactics; he's got his bounce back in his step and become more of a tactical boxer.
But will any of this matter against the stalking Mexican giant that is Margarito?
Even before when Cotto entered the brawl, Cotto went 11 rounds before he submitted to Margarito.
At that time, the scorecards were very close—if Cotto had hung in or maybe boxed a bit better, he'd be the winner.
Now at a higher weight division—where Cotto has more experience, a more comfortable physical build, and new trainer—will Cotto defeat Margarito?
Only December 3 can truly answer.
Antonio Margarito holding the gold he took from Cotto.
Antonio Margarito was caught with Plaster of Paris in his gloves before the start of his fight with Shane Mosley.
The plaster was taken out and his trainer was suspended for life because he took the fall, while Margarito was suspended for at least a year.
Then the match started and Mosley knocked Margarito out for the first time in his career. Margarito's victory over Cotto came under question, seeing that it was only six months previous to the Mosley fight.
Margarito now has to prove he didn't use plaster the first time by beating Cotto decisively.
If Margarito can't, then his entire career will come under question with mass scrutiny; if he can, then he is redeemed.
Cotto vs Margarito
Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito have real bad blood between each other.
Then Margarito came in '08 and pummeled him over the course of a long battle. The referee eventually waived off the contest in the 11th round and Cotto's "0" was gone.
Then the news of Margarito having plaster in his gloves during the Mosley fight came out and Cotto became angry. His anger can be seen during the HBO Face Off promos with Margarito.
Cotto believes Margarito had plaster in his gloves and is set to prove he can beat Margarito on fair terms. Margarito would like to believe Cotto can't and that he is falsely called a cheater. Their rivalry is epic.
The Cotto of old putting down Judah.
Cotto is missing something according to some critics and fans—some say he lost it in his loss to Margarito in their 2008 classic.
Like the Thrilla in Manila between Frazier and Ali, both men gave their all and neither was the same again.
Since then, both Margarito and Cotto have taken great beatings from Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO), and now both sit at a crossroads.
Margarito is 33, Cotto is 31; both have taken a lot of damage over the course of their careers and likely won't be fighting much longer.
Whoever loses will be putting on what could be their final shining moment in the ring, and the winner will be given the chance to continue knowing they proved their case with a stunning victory.
Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali fought each other twice at the Madison Square Garden.
Felix Trinidad's first lost was handed to him at the Madison Square Garden by Bernard Hopkins.
Joe Louis fought for the last time against Rocky Marciano at the Madison Square Garden.
Many wonderful things happen at such a historic location, and Cotto-Margarito II will be no different.
Shane Mosley receives some of that "New York Magic" from Cotto.
Cotto has always had a connection with New York City. Maybe it's the high density of Puerto Ricans, or maybe New York just loves its adopted son.
Cotto is 8-0, 4 KO in New York fights, including a record of 6-0, 3 KO in fights at the Madison Square Garden.
His vanquished Garden foes include Shane Mosley, a knockout of Zab Judah (41-7, 28 KO), and a controversial split-decision over Joshua Clottey (35-4, 20 KO).
His only two losses came at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Will the location of the fight change the result of its sequel? Maybe, but who knows?
Margarito suffered a broken orbital bone (essentially a broken eye socket) in his fight against Manny Pacquiao, yet he would not quit. He survived to suffer a unanimous decision loss instead of a stoppage.
In that perhaps foolish act, Margarito had demonstrated the means by which he will go to pursue even the most unlikely of victories.
Yes! He's slower than molasses, but he's determined and big and throws a hell of a lot of punches.
His Royal Slowness even managed to catch Pacquiao in the mid-rounds to the body and hurt him against the ropes. That's based off pure determination that Margarito was able to even get to Pacquiao.
Cotto is not nearly as fast as Pacquiao and likely won't be able to hop around the ring against a Mexican behemoth like Margarito. Cotto's already said he's not willing to die in the ring—will that be the difference?
Tony gives as good as he gets from Pacquiao.
Even if Margarito wins, can he cause the same amount of damage he did the first time? Many question his punching power in the aftermath of his plaster scandal in January 2009.
Yes, he hurt Pacquiao to the body in 2010, but Pacquiao is a much smaller man who came from lightweight (135 lbs.) to a catchweight version of light middleweight (150 lbs.) in a matter of two years.
Cotto will be Margarito's first elite full-sized 147-154-pound opponent since losing to Mosley after the plaster wraps were taken.
Can Margarito hurt Cotto the same? Even before assuming Margarito had plaster in his gloves, Cotto survived to see Round 11. If Margarito had plaster and it's now removed, Cotto will see the distance.
If Cotto doesn't see the distance, then Margarito officially validates his power post-Plastergate.
Saul Alvarez AKA "Canelo" AKA new hot kid on the 154 lb block.
Outside of Mayweather or Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito are two of the very few names in boxing who can make a million-plus in a fight in America.
Their names ring out and resonate, meaning the winner could land some huge fights before they set off into the sunset.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is fast becoming the wiz-kid of the 154-pound division and has a Mexican following that borderlines on hero-worship.
Cotto has said he wants a rematch against Pacquiao after defeating Margarito to avenge the only two losses of his career. With Pacquiao's performance as of late, that could be possible.
Forget what happened with Pacquiao-Marquez III—Cotto-Margarito I ended in a stoppage and Cotto vs. Margarito II is likely ending with a stoppage no matter who wins.
These fighters have so much riding on this fight that both will give as good as they have; flesh will be broken and blood shall rain and paint the canvas in a sea of red.
These two were meant to make boxing magic together, and now the recipe is right again to form as second boxing classic on December 3rd on HBO pay-per-view live from Madison Square Garden.