Yesterday in Puerto Rico, the four-city press tour for the December 3 rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito kicked off, and Margarito sounded confident that the second fight would wind up the same as the first:
"I think I'll do something similar to the first fight by coming forward and applying pressure. I know that Cotto has another trainer, Emanuel Steward. I just hope he arrives in excellent condition so there won't be any doubt."
Margarito also said he never used loaded gloves and denied the feeling some have that his gloves were indeed loaded against Cotto in 2008.
This is such a strange fight to talk about. I want to see it, but I do have my own feelings of doubt and, I don't know if I'd call it hate, but at least extreme dislike of Margarito. And knowing how many people find it disgusting that he's even involved makes it bizarre to talk about a Margarito fight every time since the Mosley pre-fight incident with the gloves.
So let me make this clear how I'm going to at least try to handle this fight from here on out: I'm just going to talk about the fight itself. If you hate the fight, feel free to say so, but it's happening and we're going to cover it.
Anyway, I think many assume Margarito is still too tough and too big for Cotto, but personally I'm most concerned about how his eye will allow him to perform. He says he's fine, and doctors have cleared him to fight, but serious eye injuries for boxers are just no good whatsoever. It's not going to take a world class jab artist to mess up Margarito, probably, and Miguel Cotto is no chump. My gut feeling is Steward will have him going right at it, because anything else about Margarito aside, he's triple tough and his stamina is incredible. If you let him survive, he'll be there at the end of the fight.
And as far as the trainer switch for Cotto goes, I think Margarito, now with Robert Garcia, also has a better trainer than he had the first time around, though the quality of Steward compared to Evangelista Cotto is probably greater than Garcia vs the guy thrown under the bus whose name no one ever says anymore.
One other question: Does anyone else think this is a sink-or-swim fight from Top Rank? Margarito has almost no future left in the sport, really, but a win here could extend his big fight credibility (what's left of it) a little longer. And while Cotto is still a star, he's absolutely on the downward slope, both in the ring and as an attraction. At this point, his upside is also very limited, and he's definitely peaked both as a fighter and an attraction. This fight should do well with lesser expectations than it had in 2008, when it did very well for a pay-per-view not headed by one of the super duper money men (at the time, Oscar and Floyd), but I have to wonder if Top Rank sees this almost as a fight where promotionally, they just have nothing to lose, and they might as well do it, rather than having a burning desire to put it on, if that makes sense.