Cotto vs Margarito and Mares vs Agbeko: The Post-Fight Report Card

Miguel Cotto cemented his legacy as a Puerto Rican legend with his win over Antonio Margarito in Saturday's rematch. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Nick Foxx is back on Bad Left Hook today with his post-fight report card for the Cotto vs Margarito and Mares vs Agbeko cards this past Saturday night.

Miguel Cotto

Miguel proved he is one of the very best fighters of his generation, exceeded in legacy only by Manny and Floyd: he's only lost legitimately to Manny, and he's beaten good versions of Shane, Zab, Clottey, Quintana, Paulie, etc., and now Margarito. The win against his nemesis seemed to lift a heavy burden off Cotto's family and team, and I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a break to restoke all the competitive energies he had committed to this one fight. When he returns, it is likely to be against someone from Top Rank like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or perhaps Manny again, but it may be a cold day in hell before we see him versus Sergio Martinez or any of the legit contenders at junior middleweight. His new trainer, Pedro Diaz, strikes me as being exceptionally sharp and I wouldn't put it past Cotto to beat guys like Kirkland and Angulo. But in my mind, he's done enough even if he fights cans from now on to have clearly established himself as a great Puerto Rican legend on par with the more hyped Felix Trinidad. Grade: A

Antonio Margarito

This is pure speculation, but I'm convinced Capetillo started loading Margarito's gloves after the close win against Clottey and the loss to Paul Williams, when Margo hit Paul for twelve rounds and couldn't dent him. Subsequently, he blasted out Golden Johnson early, then flattened Kermit again and made Cotto quit, a record of dominance against world-class competition that no one really expected after the Williams loss. To me, the fight on Saturday pretty much looked like the first one, except everything was progressing at a much slower rate without the plaster--Margarito would've had to take thirty rounds to KO Miguel at the rate he was going, so for his team to suggest the stoppage was premature is irrelevant. Margarito remains a big, viable name for people like Angulo and Kirkland, although I fear the Golden Boy-Top Rank squabbles may prevent those matchups from happening. Grade: B-

Brandon Rios

Rios looked like a concentration camp victim on the scales on Friday--ashen faced, sunken cheeked, and hollowed out rib cavity--and even after thirty hours of rehydration, he still had an unhealthy sheen about him entering the ring. Murray took it to him early to try to seize his supposed advantage, but Rios proved that even at what looked to be about 50% power, he had way too much for the Englishman, eventually brutalizing him the way he'd destroyed Anthony Peterson, Miguel Acosta, and Urbano Antillon, with vicious body shots and short, hurtful uppercuts in close. Arum said afterward that he would be trying to set up a fight at 140 with Rios against Mike Alvarado, and that would be another hellacious war. Grade: A-

John Murray

Murray joins the long, storied lineage of proud English fighters who came to America and got their ass handed to them. Like many of his predecessors, Murray was game as all get out, willing to stand and trade with one of the most punishing inside fighters in the business. Unfortunately, we all knew what the outcome was going to be long before Earl Brown stepped in between the two in the eleventh, with Murray taking a savage beating against the ropes. He's now suffered two brutal ass-kickings in a row, and will return to domestic level in the UK with nothing to be ashamed of. Grade: B+

Delvin Rodriguez

After another strong outing on Saturday, comprehensively outclassing Wolak by keeping him at distance and working him over with accurate, sharp blows, I think it's about time Delvin got with a major promoter that can get him into the kinds of fights he deserves (and the political clout backing him so he stops getting jobbed with the decisions). I can't see him really competing with the big dogs at 154, but he seems like a fun guy you can throw on an undercard of a PPV against some up-and-comer, knowing you are going to be guaranteed tremendous effort and heart while his lack of true power and boxing skill won't seriously jeopardize someone more talented. In other words, he would be a useful guy to have in your stable. Grade: A-

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Pawel Wolak

Wolak has gotten as far as he's going to get. He's never going to be good enough to win a title, even in this day and age of a zillion titles, but he can continue to collect good paychecks fighting regional bouts in the NY/NJ area given the local and vocal Polish fanbase he has built up and shares with Tomasz Adamek. He's just not quick or powerful enough to cause any of the top-level guys any real concern, and the more he fights at that level, the more he's going to get battered; his brows already are getting that scar-tissue, paper-thin look that effectively ended Israel Vasquez's career. Grade: C

Mike Jones

I'm not that excited about Mike Jones as a welterweight. He seems too big for the division and his punches have the tendency to land long due to his size, leading to the awkward, uninspiring types of fights we've seen with him against Jesus Soto Karass and Lujan on Saturday. He's kind of like a less exciting Paul Williams fighting guys he towers over at welterweight. I think if he filled out to 154, he'd potentially carry more power and will at least look more coordinated (relatively speaking) against the slower, bigger fighters in that weight class, people like Angulo and Kirkland that he can outbox quite readily, I'd imagine. The idea that he could be a reasonable opponent for Manny is a joke. Grade: B

Sebastian Lujan

Lujan is tough as nails and fights in a style that I can only describe as conveying a tremendous amount of disrespect. He keeps his arms low, sticks his head in, and almost dares his opponent to hit him (think Calzaghe versus Roy Jones), whilst at the same time throwing arm punches that seem like they should only annoy his opponents but end up accumulating damage, and stopping a good share of them--ask Mark Melligan, Lujan's last KO victim. He remains a good step-up test for prospects, because he will take you out if you're not properly prepared. Grade: B-

Anselmo Moreno

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Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime

I think we'd all heard about El Chemito for quite a while, the long-time bantamweight titlist from Panama who'd never fought on a major American card until Saturday. He certainly made his debut in front of his Golden Boy bosses memorable, dominating essentially every round in Anaheim against a formidable foe, Vic Darchinyan, who'd come in as the favorite. Moreno showed great skill from his southpaw stance (despite being right-handed), frustrating the charging Darchinyan and lacing him with technical, precise shots while managing to evade almost all the artillery thrown in return. Call me crazy, but the fluidity of his footwork and body movement reminded me a little of Sweet Pea. I'd favor him above any bantamweight save Donaire, and that would be a hell of a fight I think. Grade: A

Vic Darchinyan

At 35 and having now lost to Moreno, Mares, Agbeko and Donaire, Vic has proven that he can be competitive with the top bantams in the world, but cannot defeat them, whether he tries to slug it out or fight more technically. Darchinyan looks great against fighters he can physically dominate (Mijares and Arce) but his relatively small size and age suggest that his future in the division is limited; perhaps a move to MMA wouldn't be the worst thing in the world after all. I bet he can seriously crack without the impediment of eight-ounce gloves. The time might also be ripe for a Darchinyan-Arce rematch. Based on how Arce looked at 122 against Vazquez, that might now be a 50-50 fight. Grade: C

Abner Mares

Call me a hater, but Mares always seems to appeal to ringside judges more than he does to me. All three judges had him winning ten rounds to two against Agbeko on Saturday, which is a margin both I and Agbeko's team found baffling. That isn't to say he didn't win the fight: Mares was younger, fresher, and, perhaps most importantly to the judges, his footwork was so much better than Agbeko, who frequently looks like he's lunging and off-balance. I don't really see Mares having any chance against Donaire, and as I said above, I'd favor Moreno over him too. He's a good and deserving titlist, but I think his style flatters to deceive. Grade: B+

Joseph Agbeko

Agbeko is a hard-luck former champion who brings it every fight. I'm hoping he doesn't get too discouraged by the losses to Mares, which I am mostly attributing to how stiff he looks in the ring compared to the more aesthetically pleasing Mares. The big question is can Don King get him fights now that he is beltless and not part of a tournament? He's too good to become a gatekeeper-type, and he won't be able to beat Moreno or Donaire either, so I'm not sure where he's going to fit in now. Grade: B-

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