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WBA Welterweight Championship (147 LBS)
July 26,2008—MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
“A modern classic” was how HBO announcer, Max Kellerman described this brutal war between “the most avoided fighter in boxing,” Antonio Margarito (36-5/26KOS), “The Tijuana Tornado” and undefeated Caguas, Puerto Rico-born Miguel Cotto (32-0).
For 11 rounds, this was a war, fully meriting its “classic” status. Cotto, surrendering four inches in height to Margarito, nonetheless boxed effectively throughout the fight, displaying superior technique and boxing prowess, landing frequently savage flurries against and off of Margarito's hard skull.
Margarito never took a backward step, however. The lanky Mexican, feared for his rough-and-tumble pressure-fighting style and renowned chin, simply stalked Cotto, walked him down, trapped him into a corner or against the ropes at every turn.
By the sixth round, it became apparent that Margarito's pressure fighting was getting to Cotto, whose chin has always been a liability. The previously-mobile Cotto was fighting more flat-footed, allowing Margarito to begin unloading on Cotto's midsection.
While Cotto was still winning the rounds via cleaner punching and superior accuracy, Margarito subtly began to take over the fight. A look at the corners between rounds seemed to confirm this. Cotto's face and left eye were horribly swollen, and the look on the Puerto Rican's face reflected despair as much as anything.
In Round 11, Cotto, appearing gassed, his face a bloody mask, got nailed by a short left uppercut, followed by a right and another left at the 1:43 mark. Cotto took a knee, and received a standing eight count from referee Kenny Bayless. Dazed and wobbly, Cotto teetered across the ring while Margarito gave chase, his long arms windmilling punches in Cotto's direction. At 1:58, Evangelista Cotto, Miguel's trainer and uncle, threw in the towel and referee Bayless halted the fight—KO for Antonio Margarito and a victory for Mexico.