On July 26, 2008, in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, then-undefeated Miguel Cotto met what figured to be possibly -- probably -- the toughest challenge of his career. Cotto, then 32-0, was one of boxing's biggest stars, a Puerto Rican dynamo who cultivated a large audience of his countrymen and those sharing his heritage in the United States. He was a star anywhere he went, and a terrific fighter to boot.
Matched with Mexico's Antonio Margarito, then 36-5, he was facing a new type of challenge. Cotto had been in the ring with and beaten the likes of Shane Mosley and Zab Judah before, but Margarito was a relentless sort who could walk through his opponent's best shots and smile at them. He had twice decimated another Puerto Rican, Kermit Cintron, by taking what were supposedly monstrous blows from a man with the reputation of being one of boxing's best punchers. Shrugging them off, he wore out Cintron and broke his will to fight, stopping him in five rounds in 2005, and in six rounds three years later.
Would Cotto be able to hold up to the pressure of Margarito? As a small welterweight, could Cotto get through the inevitable charge from the relatively enormous Mexican?
This fight was great. There is no denying that. But six months later, the memory of the fight changed forever when Margarito was caught attempting to use illegal hand wraps before his fight with Shane Mosley in California.
Today, Miguel Cotto believes that Antonio Margarito used the same illegal wraps in their fight, and says that without the aid of plaster, the result of this fight will be different.
Even if it is, is there even a remote chance the December 3 rematch lives up to the drama of the first fight in the ring?