Cotto-Margarito has certainly gotten quite a bit of buzz in the boxing community, but unlike their first fight the reasons aren't as joyful.
Whereas their first affair focused on what was supposedly two of the best welterweights in the world, this tilt is more focused on the story behind how the first fight ended and what happened after it.
It is one of the best documented stories in boxing that Margarito was found to have plaster in his gauze which was removed before the Mosley fight. He went on to lose soundly to Mosley.
Suspicion was cast on Margarito and it led to one serious question.
Did Margarito cheat and use such wraps against Cotto in their first fight?
Because of the questions and emotions from the fans and the fighters, this fight has less to do with the skills of the fighters involved and more about their emotional makeup. Boxing ability comes into it, but their own mental states make up more of the weighing factors this time.
Both men have advantages going for them in this fight. Not all of them are physical and not all are mental, but all of them could have the power to change what happens on Saturday.
If nothing else Pacquiao proved that Margarito did have either what amounted to stupidity or courage to take a beating round after round. Long after he had any chance of winning he still continued to try and move forward.
Some fans started to forgive Margarito for this show of "courage" though the term might be used loosely since it borders on dangerous behavior, but in a fight with Miguel Cotto it might come handy.
On a face-off segment with Cotto, Margarito stated that he was willing to die in the ring while Cotto stated that he was not willing to risk his health in such a manner because of his family.
The same lack of fear, or intelligence, could help him continue when things get tough and at the same time it might help him outlast Cotto.
Cotto has blatantly stated that he intends on aiming for Margarito's surgically repaired eye. The fact that the eye is supposedly healed doesn't affect Cotto.
And it almost didn't affect the New York Boxing Athletic Commission. They ordered Margarito to undergo another eye exam before the fight. That feeling might not be able to influence the fight, but it might influence the referee.
Even though the NYC commission won't be telling the referee to stop the fight if the eye is getting hit it may subconsciously affect his decision in the ring. If he sees Margarito taking punishment, especially is his once damaged eye he may stop the fight whether Margarito is willing to die in the ring or not.
Considering how bad Margarito's ability at defense is, it is a real possibility.
No one but Margarito and his then trainer Javier Capetillo will know if he used tampered hand wraps to beat Cotto in 2008.
If he did he is denying it.
If he didn't nothing will change the fact that people don't believe him.
Margarito's only chance at even possibly convincing a few fans that he won the first fight fairly is to win a unanimous decision or knock Cotto out again.
If he fails to do so fans will cast their judgment against the Mexican boxer and he will immediately lose any good will and favors he has built up. He will become a boxing pariah once again.
Margarito will be fighting to keep his career's legitimacy from being questioned more than it already is.
It's not so much that the fans will be supporting Cotto as they will be against Margarito.
If there is one thing boxing fans hate it's a cheater and especially one who could kill his opponent. Pugilistic fans might be bloodthirsty at times, but they can explain it away by saying that not only did the other fighter know what they were getting into, but that the odds were even for both men entering the ring.
When that is tampered with it not only endangers the fighter, it also lets them continue to fight in unsafe conditions which if they knew about might not continue to put themselves in.
Because of this fans will not only cheer for Cotto, they will get vicious when Margarito comes out. In the fight with Pacquiao this was mitigated because it was Texas and there are a lot of Latino fans. Though some were against Margarito many still might have embraced their one-time hero.
In New York, which has a large Puerto Rican contingent, he won't be so lucky. Margarito might say this won't affect him, but come fight night it could be another story.
This might help Margarito's confidence more than anything. Having beaten Cotto by knockout once may help the Mexican brawler to believe that he can do it again.
The confidence that comes with knowing that he once beat Cotto into submission will help him when he faces moments of adversity. Margarito might also be expecting Cotto to wilt when the same punches rain down on him and pressure him into a corner.
How both men react when Margarito lands his first punch will set the tone for the fight. Margarito probably believes that Cotto will feel the same power he did three years ago. If Cotto doesn't react the way Margarito hopes he does it may change what takes place in the next rounds.
Just as much as Margarito needs to win this fight to get some fans to possibly acknowledge his innocence, Cotto needs to beat him to prove his guilt.
Recently Cotto has seemed adamant that Margarito cheated. Above all else he may feel he has to prove that it is true in this rematch. It may give him a mental edge and make him ignore Margarito's punches in a way he wouldn't have before.
If Cotto can shrug off Margarito's punches in the fight, than it will prove his point. That Margarito did use loaded hand wraps in their fight and that he illegally took a win away from a then undefeated Miguel Cotto and perhaps money from his family.
Who knows what Cotto could have accomplished and how much more he could have made in subsequent fights if he hadn't lost to Margarito back in 2008.
It's a thought worth mulling over and it is one that has probably consumed Cotto for the last few years. If he wins he can get some measure of satisfaction.
If Margarito doesn't win then that will be it for him. The only reason fans are even interested in this fight is to see Cotto get some measure of revenge or to put to bed the questions of if Margarito cheated during their first bout.
And with a loss to both Pacquiao and Cotto he won't have any other fights that fans will be clamoring to see. Especially since he will have lost back to back to each fighter.
He may be able to continue his career in Mexico, but he won't have any more multi-million dollar paydays and it's a good bet he won't be called to face any young up-and-comers.
If Margarito wants to stay in boxing's main fights then he will need to win.
That is strong motivation for a prizefighter.
Cotto may have lost to Pacquiao in 2009 and struggled with Joshua Clottey in the fight before that, but he still has been able to beat a few opponents since his loss to Margarito.
Though Cotto may not be the fighter he was when he first faced the "Tijuana Tornado" he has been able to continue forging a great career since than.
The same can't be said for Margarito. Since he beat Cotto he has taken beatings from Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao. In between those fights he had one fight, but it was against a far weaker boxer.
Margarito's health and skill should be called into question, especially after the frightful beating he took in his battle with Pacquiao.
He might not even be half the fighter he was before that match.
Margarito doesn't do a lot of things in the ring but what he does he does well.
No matter if his gloves were loaded in his previous fights he has always been a large pressure fighter who has a tough chin and the ability to always come forward. That pressure might still break Cotto down and end the fight with his hands raised.
How much of that ferocious and gritty fighter is left after his last two defeats remains to be seen. Margarito's will hasn't been broken down, but his body may have been.
If it hasn't then he can still make this a fun fight and even pull off the win. Loaded gloves may have given him previous wins, but they only could contribute so much. Margarito is still the standard come-forward Mexican fighter and if Cotto doesn't take him seriously it could be trouble.
Before Cotto turned pro he had a great amateur career. He was even an Olympian who boxed for Puerto Rico in the 2000 games.
Cotto has power but he also has good fundamentals. More importantly he has decent boxing IQ and the fact that he lost to Margarito doesn't have to be a bad thing. Boxer's can learn from losses and Cotto seems to be the type to do that.
Cotto is tough to read and even though he seems agitated he is either the type that learns from the loss and uses it to beat Margarito soundly this time, or he will let it destroy him and get beaten again. There is no middle ground.
In this writer's humble opinion it is a good bet that Cotto has learned from the loss and will either choose to outbox or out-punch Margarito depending on what ends up being the safer option.
And in the end, even how he chooses to box comes down to what he feels.
After all, Saturday's fight is a "grudge match" in the truest sense of the word.
And luckily fans get to see it.