A July 16 date looks all but set for a rematch between Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto and Mexico's Antonio Margarito, and of course that means it's close to time to stop talking about this fight in terms of "what ifs" and instead look at the reality of it.
I'll get this out of the way quickly, for anyone who might be new. I am a huge Miguel Cotto fan. He's one of my favorite fighters, and since we started Bad Left Hook in 2006, has been one of my favorite fighters to write about and to watch fight for our event coverage. One of the absolute best fights we've seen since our site opened was, of course, the first fight between Cotto and Antonio Margarito on July 26, 2008. It was a thriller with unbelievable ebb and flow, a dramatic stoppage, and Cotto losing his "0." It was a marvelous war of attrition between two very tough men who left blood on the canvas and their hearts in the ring.
But it got ruined months later, when Margarito was caught trying to load his wraps before a January 2009 fight with Shane Mosley. That night, Margarito was viciously pummeled by Mosley, thought beforehand to be too old for the hard-charging Mexican. Shortly after, he lost his license to box, and was out of the spotlight before his November 2010 loss to Manny Pacquiao in Texas, though he had taken a tune-up fight in Mexico before that.
I don't like Antonio Margarito. I didn't like him before WrapGate, don't like him now. As much as I like guys who can take loads of punishment and just keep coming, I've just never quite taken to him. I never got on board with Top Rank's "most feared fighter" campaign for Margarito. I never thought a ton of his wins over Kermit Cintron. And with WrapGate came the suspicion that Margarito wasn't exactly caught the first time he'd stuck his hand in the plaster cookie jar.
It was the Cotto win that actually got me to finally see Margarito as a guy worth at least a good portion of the hype. It has been his overall personality and behavior since then that has told me I was right to never really consider myself a Margarito fan in the first place.
This is a rematch that...God, this makes my skin crawl. I want to see it. But I don't. All I can really do is make myself a pros and cons list, so let's do that. It's an American tradition.
- It's going to make money, and Miguel Cotto making money is something I can always get behind.
- Even though both are faded, I truly don't think these two can possibly make less than a great fight.
- It could be an opportunity to see Margarito, who is older and just had his face broken by Pacquiao, get his ass whipped again. I admit I took some pleasure in watching Pacquiao batter him, and in retrospect, I take great pleasure in watching Mosley demolish him, too. (Not very journalistic of me, but then I am not a journalist.)
- It just sort of feels like it has to happen. I don't know what it is. It could be that Cotto and Margarito are linked to one another for me, it could be the idea that there's unfinished business. But it just feels right, no matter how wrong it feels.
- It's going to make money, and Antonio Margarito doesn't deserve to make big paydays. Say what you will about the resolve he showed against Manny, and he sure as hell did, but his attempted crimes just aren't forgivable, at least not to me. I have thought long and hard about that whole thing, but I just don't forgive Margarito, and don't see him as a redeemed figure just because he got smoked by Pacquiao.
- Even though both are faded, Margarito's frame carries 154 much better than does Cotto's, and I don't like the fight at 154 for Cotto. If I were being fair, I don't like it back at 147 for Margarito, either, as I don't think he can make that weight. But I don't really care about fair.
- With that said, it could just wind up with Miguel Cotto getting his ass whipped again. I don't want to see that -- not from Margarito. Someone else doing it I can handle, but not Margarito.
- It just feels like it shouldn't happen. Even though the fight makes sense and I can't hide the fact that my base instincts want to see it, it just feels wrong.
What say you? Is this a fight you feel like you need to see, or just a fight you'll accept within the realities of boxing being boxing?